RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Celgard, a developer of materials for use in lithium-ion batteries, is one of the big winners among firms selected to receive $2.4 billion in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy.

, which operates a manufacturing facility in Charlotte, will receive $49 million to be used for expansion of its batter separator product. Celgard will match the federal funding, The Charlotte Observer reported.

The company also will open a plant in Aiken, S.C., according to a press release from the DOE. However, Celgard did not disclose a specific site.

"We look forward to playing a key role in supporting the Department of Energy’s and the country’s goal to develop a technology-leading lithium-ion battery industry in the United States, including a robust supply chain for the critical components," said Robert Toth, chief executive officer of Polypore (NYSE: PPO), which is the corporate parent of Celgard. "This grant will enable us to accelerate investment in production capacity and create jobs in the U.S. as we prepare to meet the increasing demand of the Electric Drive Vehicle market."

Celgard is expected to create hundreds of jobs at the facilities, according to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who announced the grant Wednesday in Charlotte. Celgard applied for the grant in May.

Last December, Celgard received a $2.3 million contract from the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium to develop separator technology.

Three other firms with a presence in the Carolinas and Georgia also received grants, which President Obama and other administration officials disclosed in a series of press conferences from Florida to Michigan.

Progress Energy, which is based in Raleigh, will participate in a project related to electric vehicles in Florida.

Other grants in the region:

• Toda America, Goose Creek, S.C.: $35 million for production of nickel-cobalt-metal cathode material for lithium-ion batteries.

• Chemetall Foote Corp., Kings Mountain, N.C. and Silver Peak, N.V.: $28.4 million to production of battery-grade lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide.

• Exide Technologies, Columbus, Ga. And Bristol, Tenn.: $34.3 million for production of advanced lead-acid batteries, using lead-carbon electrodes for micro and mild hybrid applications.

Georgia Tech and the state of South Carolina will also share in two grants for advanced electric drive vehicle education programs.

for the complete list of grant awards.