Carlsbad: A CleanTech Hub that is Fueling the Future

June 26, 2023

As a city recognized for its innovative spirit and economic vitality, Carlsbad is at the forefront of the CleanTech revolution. Boasting an impressive and growing cluster of CleanTech companies, Carlsbad not only provides opportunities for new businesses to thrive but also represents a robust job market for talented professionals seeking a greener tomorrow.

Carlsbad’s CleanTech industry has demonstrated remarkable growth, with a significant economic impact that helps to sustain the city’s vibrant, diverse economy. The city’s CleanTech sector is poised to add $1.4 billion to the local economy by 2024, according to the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce. This prediction aligns with the city’s dedicated focus on fostering a thriving environment for CleanTech companies and attracting talent with cutting-edge skills in this field.

Employment in Carlsbad’s CleanTech sector is growing. As of 2023, the industry is estimated to provide over 4,000 jobs, a figure that is projected to increase by 20% over the next two years. These job opportunities span across diverse roles, from R&D and engineering to business management and production, providing opportunities for talent from various backgrounds.

“Our vision for Carlsbad is to be the destination of choice for the CleanTech industry,” said Matt Sanford, the City’s Economic Development Manager. “We’re not only providing a fertile ground for CleanTech companies to grow and innovate but also shaping an environment that prioritizes sustainability and clean energy.” 

The City boasts numerous success stories that exemplify its thriving CleanTech scene, especially among energy storage solutions. American Lithium Energy, a leading player in the industry, develops and ships silicon-based lithium-ion batteries that offer the world’s highest energy density, along with industry-best safety and zero-volt stability. Its innovative approach addresses the limitations of existing lithium battery technologies, meeting the increasing demand for more powerful, longer-lasting, smaller, and safer batteries. By leveraging their patented technologies, the company eliminates the trade-offs between energy density, lifecycle, and safety, delivering lithium cells that excel in all three aspects.

American Lithium Energy headquarters

Carlsbad’s proximity to abundant lithium resources allows American Lithium Energy to access the necessary materials for lithium-ion battery production efficiently, sustainably, and at a lower cost. Another significant factor is the availability of a highly skilled workforce in Carlsbad and its surrounding areas. The region is known for its expertise in engineering, chemistry, and advanced manufacturing, providing American Lithium Energy with access to experienced professionals. 


Smartville team at their Carlsbad headquarters

“The knowledge and expertise of the workforce in Carlsbad are invaluable to our research, development, and production processes,” said William Hadala, Vice President Strategy & Business Development at American Lithium Energy. “The presence of prestigious research institutions, universities, and technology-focused organizations enables us to collaborate with leading experts, access cutting-edge research, and stay at the forefront of technological advancements in the energy storage industry.”

Looking ahead, Hadala foresees several significant trends in the clean battery industry. He highlights the increasing energy density of batteries, advancements in charging speed, enhanced safety features, sustainable and ethical sourcing of materials, second-life applications, and the integration of clean batteries with renewable energy systems. 

According to Hadala, “These trends will shape the future of energy storage and have a profound impact on transportation, renewable energy integration, and grid stability.”

While American Lithium Energy focuses on the development of CleanTech batteries, another Carlsbad company, Smartville, is spearheading the sustainable repurposing of batteries. Founded in 2019 and based in Carlsbad, California, Smartville is a leading company addressing the pressing challenges of retired electric vehicle (EV) batteries. With a mission to repurpose and optimize the life cycles of EV batteries, Smartville focuses on creating sustainable and scalable solutions for energy storage systems. By repurposing retired EV batteries as stationary storage, Smartville not only provides large amounts of energy storage to the grid and larger customers but also addresses battery waste streams, promotes recycling, and enhances the overall efficiency of the battery value chain.

Smartville’s MOAB™ energy storage system is the first second-life energy storage system to integrate and control repurposed electric vehicle battery packs from different manufacturers at varying levels of health in one unified system.

Improper disposal of batteries can have adverse climate impacts. Smartville’s efforts contribute to the electrified transportation community, upholding the emission benefits of electric vehicles. It’s crucial to note that the carbon emissions associated with EVs are significantly reduced compared to traditional vehicles, but improper disposal of batteries can undermine these benefits. By repurposing retired EV batteries for stationary applications, such as renewable integration and grid stabilization, Smartville maximizes their value and ensures they continue to contribute to sustainable transportation and power utility sectors.

Smartville’s dedication to clean technology and repurposing retired EV batteries brings significant economic benefits. The company has been recognized through national awards for battery recycling and solar initiatives. Moreover, they secured a substantial $6 million DOE grant for battery second use, emphasizing their role in the battery circular supply chain. The collaborative efforts between Smartville and companies like American Lithium Energy, create a cohesive story within the Carlsbad ecosystem.

“The region boasts a thriving ecosystem with numerous EV startups and battery technology players,” said Antoni Tong, Founder and CEO of Smartville. “This community allows us to recruit, communicate, and collaborate effectively, benefiting from a pool of like-minded individuals. The supportive nature of the City of Carlsbad, along with its strategic geographic location, makes it an ideal choice for our headquarters.”

Looking ahead, Tong envisions major trends and changes in the industry over the next five to ten years. The company sees a growing emphasis on contributing to the circular economy of batteries, particularly as the electrification of transportation expands. With increased focus on battery reuse, repurposing, and domestic manufacturing, Smartville believes that Carlsbad and California as a whole provide an excellent platform to achieve these objectives.

Additional Carlsbad leaders in CleanTech include Eurus Energy America Corporation, a leading wind and solar energy provider. With its North American operations headquartered in Carlsbad, Eurus has been instrumental in driving the CleanTech revolution on a local and global scale. Another shining example is Poseidon Water, which operates the largest seawater desalination plant in the western hemisphere right here in Carlsbad. Poseidon’s advanced technology provides a sustainable water source for San Diego County, contributing significantly to regional water security. 

“As a city, we’re dedicated to championing this industry, and we’re committed to driving economic growth in ways that align with our vision for a sustainable future,” said Sanford. “It’s not just about economic development; it’s about crafting a cleaner, greener world for generations to come.”

One of Carlsbad’s key strengths in fostering a vibrant CleanTech industry is the collaborative atmosphere created through partnerships among businesses, government, academia, and local communities..

Cleantech is one of Carlsbad’s key industries, having an outsized and growing economic impact. It is a cornerstone of the city’s commitment to sustainability, and Carlsbad is paving the way for other cities to follow.

To top it off, the quality of life in Carlsbad is unparalleled. From its beautiful beaches and vibrant cultural scene to its highly-rated schools and safe, welcoming neighborhoods, Carlsbad is an ideal place for CleanTech professionals to build both their careers and lives. The city has had success in recruiting the right mix of talent and workforce to fuel industry growth.