Avestor locks its doors

Another Canadian energy-storage player bites the dust. Avestor, a Boucherville, Quebec-based maker of lithium-metal-polymer batteries, has let go of 260 employees and closed the doors of its manufacturing plant just outside of Montreal. The company, a joint venture between Hydro-Quebec and Kerr-McGee Corp. (now owned by Anadarko Petroleum Corp.), said it is making a bankruptcy proposal to its creditors and has appointed a trustee to oversee the process.

“Considerable sums were invested in developing a battery that could be marketed profitably to the telecommunications industry; nevertheless, the enterprise was not able to reach the break-even point,” the company said in a statement. “Despite more than a year of active searching, Avestor failed to attract new industrial and financial partners to replace its current investors. Consequently, it is no longer able to continue operations.”

It’s not like Avestor wasn’t selling product. In August the company proudly announced it had sold its 20,000th battery. At the same, CEO John Haddock was quoted as saying: “The future looks promising.”

Or not.

Only two weeks ago, solid-oxide fuel cell developer Fuel Cell Technologies Ltd. of Kingston, Ontario, announced it was shutting down and liquidating its assets. These two closures are a reminder of how difficult it is to profitably crack the storage market, and how having a good technology often isn’t enough to change the behaviour or meet the high expectations/standards of customers.