U.S. chemical maker DuPont is constructing a plant in Chesterfield County, Va., to produce separators for lithium-ion batteries. The company is taking on leaders, including Japan's Asahi Kasei, in the rapidly growing high-performance lithium-ion battery market. Energain separators are made from nanofibers and can boost battery power and prolong battery life. DuPont expects the plant to supply 20% of the demand for electric and hybrid cars by 2011.

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