The spotlight finds a company with consistently innovative solutions. [FIMG=LEFT]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/Johnson_Controls_Li-Ion_HEV_Pack.jpg[/FIMG]Sean Welch - CleanMPG - September 17, 2009 Hard work for the environment does pay off. The Cleantech Group awarded Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI 27.48, +0.41, +1.51%) its Product Innovation Award for clean technology at the Cleantech Forum XXIII in Boston on Sept. 9, 2009. Johnson Controls was recognized for its leadership in the production of advanced batteries for hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. "This award recognizes that we are not only developing and manufacturing advanced batteries, we are establishing a sustainable hybrid and electric vehicle industry. This includes suppliers for critical materials and equipment, recycling programs and continuous improvement through research and development," said Mark Wagner, vice president of Government Relations for Johnson Controls who accepted the award on behalf of the company. "We believe this approach will enable the U.S. to become globally competitive and create sustainable jobs." Johnson Controls recently received a $299.2 million economic stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) - the largest grant awarded by the DOE for advanced battery manufacturing and development - to build domestic manufacturing capacity for advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. Part of the funding from the DOE grant will support the company's first U.S. manufacturing facility in Holland, Michigan, expected to be in operation before the end of 2010. Additionally, through its joint venture Johnson Controls-Saft, the company is already in production for the lithium-ion battery for the Mercedes Benz S Class, the first lithium-ion hybrid available to consumers and on sale today. It also has production contracts with BMW for its 7 series ActiveHybrid available in early 2010, and with Ford for its first plug-in hybrid available to consumers in 2010. Also recognized at the Forum was exro Technologies, presented with the award for Most Promising Technology for its Variable Input Electric Generator (VIEG). This electrical generator is intended to drive down the capital cost of renewable energy while delivering double-digit improvement to energy output. "It is with great honor that we recognize these two companies changing the way the world thinks about energy and efficiency through their contributions to the cleantech space," said Sheeraz Haji, Managing Partner of Cleantech Group. "I look forward to meeting similar companies at the upcoming Cleantech Forums in Delhi and Beijing later this year." It is clear we can expect much more progress from Johnson Controls -- and we can definitely use it!