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Aquion Energy will move to China, close Westmoreland plant at former Sony site

A company that built saltwater-based battery systems at the former Sony Corp. plant near New Stanton will move to China, according to the organization that manages the sprawling industrial site.

Aquion Energy Inc., with headquarters in Lawrence-ville, is moving operations overseas after emerging from bankruptcy in July and ending production at the 330,000-square-foot plant in East Huntingdon, said Donald Smith Jr., president of the Regional Industrial Development Corp. in Pittsburgh. The company has been shipping batteries already produced at the site, Smith said. But production shut down when it went bankrupt and most of the 70 workers were laid off.

Pennsylvania has provided about $17 million — $8.6 million in grants and another $8 million in loans — to the company, which had projected it would create an additional 341 jobs at the plant.

The company will terminate its RIDC lease by Oct. 4, the deadline for rejecting unexpired leases, according to documents filed in July in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. Aquion stated in bankruptcy court it no longer has use for the Westmoreland County property.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed. The money we put into the deal went entirely into the facility, so it’s nice industrial space that we certainly believe will be more attractive” to another tenant, said Smith, who noted Aquion’s lease does not expire for a few more years.

The RIDC has not yet been formally notified of the termination but learned about it through Aquion’s bankruptcy process, Smith said. The organization had invested about $1.5 million into Aquion’s facility, Smith said when the company filed for bankruptcy.

Read full article aet Trib Live