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Article Originally Published:

By Alan Caldwell

Construction is underway for a new battery manufacturing facility in Weirton, marking an important milestone in the project. Form Energy, the company behind the facility, celebrated the installation of the first steel beams after 56 days of breaking ground. The facility, known as Form Factory One, will cover an area of 800,000 square feet and is expected to open in 2024.

Ted Wiley, the president and chief operating officer of Form Energy, expressed his excitement about the progress. He watched as the first support beams and a section of roof framing were installed on a portion of the 55-acre site. Representatives from the City of Weirton, the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, and the Frontier Group of Companies were in attendance to commemorate the occasion.

The construction process involved digging 700 micro-piles, each measuring five feet wide and reaching 120 feet into the ground. Around 300 micro-piles have been completed, allowing major construction to begin. Wiley explained that the progress reached a point where the steel framing could be erected.

To ensure smooth construction, the project is taking a sequenced approach where design and construction happen simultaneously. Different contractors are working on different areas concurrently, with everyone involved regarded as part of the same team. The final steel framing is projected to be finished by November, and the facility is expected to be enclosed by the end of the year. Wiley expressed confidence in the timeline, with substantial completion anticipated in early 2024.

Once operational, the Form Factory One facility will produce iron-air batteries capable of storing 100 hours of energy. Form Energy has already received orders for these batteries, with significant interest from utilities across the country. Regulatory approvals for large-scale systems have been granted in Minnesota and Georgia, signaling the demand for Form Energy’s products.

The construction of the Weirton facility will create approximately 750 jobs. The site, located on land formerly used by Weirton Steel Corp for open hearth operations, was selected from a pool of 500 locations in 16 states. The project represents a substantial investment of around $760 million, funded by Form Energy and the State of West Virginia.

The anticipated timeline for operations to begin is in the mid to late 2024, followed by a planned expansion starting in 2025. Form Energy remains in conversations with potential customers, demonstrating the company’s commitment to growth and meeting the energy storage needs of various industries.

As the construction progresses, Form Factory One is set to become a significant contributor to the local economy and a valuable player in the clean energy sector.