Battery manufacturer to open research and development laboratory in Knoxville

As the EV technology industry in Tennessee continues to expand, a lithium-ion battery manufacturer is establishing a presence in Knoxville.

Safire Technology Group Inc. will open a research and development laboratory in the University of Tennessee Spark Innovation Center.

The lab will support the company's work on its patented SAFe Impact Resistant Electrolyte battery additive, which is added to lithium-ion batteries to prevent fires and explosions.

The company chose Knoxville for the scientific talent at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the university, according to a press release.

Safire Group co-founder and CEO John Lee said the company plans to hire 10-15 employees in the next year but did not disclose the value of the investment.

“The Knoxville area represents an attractive choice to expand our battery R&D capabilities and hire highly qualified talent from the community,” Lee said in a press release.

Recruiting innovation companies like Safire is a priority for the Knoxville Chamber as the world transitions to the "imagination age."

In October, Tennessee received $500 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to fund three other companies related to battery materials processing and battery manufacturing."

Safire is a venture-backed company headquartered in Tysons, Virginia, and focuses on liquid-to-solid, hybrid-state batteries.

“The Knoxville Chamber is committed to supporting innovative entrepreneurs that are creating high-wage, high-growth companies,” Chamber vice president of economic development, Doug Lawyer said in the release.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Silas Sloan

The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit

Published January 25, 2023