Big Bucks for Local Industry: Batteries & Build Back Better

Update: A reader complains that this is “a puff piece” for the university. And it is a press release from the University that the bridge published because people ought to know about development and state expenditures locally. However, we would dearly love to have some critical eyes on this kind of news. The reader continues: ” I would add that the story on the batteries and Binghamton is simply a puff publicity piece from the University. I think I’m more discerning view is required to be published. Even if you just Google once you find out that battery plants cost $2.5 to $5 billion to develop, which means NY State’s earmarked funds are a pittance in relation to what might be required to produce even small amounts of batteries. Given the history of lithium recycling plant battles locally, and the fact this is run by nonprofits it seems which will pay no taxes, there’s too many questions left unanswered.” We welcome progressive views and critiques on the news! Send to –Ed.

Binghamton University-led battery initiative wins $113 million to bolster domestic battery manufacturing and supply chain, reinvigorate region

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Binghamton University’s New Energy New York project has been awarded more than $113 million to establish a hub for battery technology innovation in upstate New York. The U.S. Economic Development Administration announced Friday that the region would receive $63.7 million; the State of New York will support the project with an additional $50 million.

“The New Energy New York team has worked hard on this project and without the leadership and guidance from Sen. Schumer from the beginning, we do not believe we would be here today,” said Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger. “Distinguished Professor and Nobel Prize-winner Stan Whittingham and our Associate Vice President Per Stromhaug had an idea they believed was crucial to our nation’s energy security. They, along with their team and NENY coalition members, have carried the concept to this point where we can stand here today as winners of the EDA’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge. With this win, and with the tremendous financial support from New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul, we are confident we can turn the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions of New York into the national hub for battery innovation, manufacturing and workforce development.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer advocated for the project, which had previously been announced as a finalist in the American Rescue Plan’s EDA Regional Challenge.

“I am proud to deliver this once-in-a-generation investment for Binghamton University to the Southern Tier, America’s home for the future of battery innovation, bringing manufacturing back from overseas, and training thousands of workers for good-paying jobs building an industry that will define this century,” Schumer said. “Broome County was once the global home to innovation, as the birthplace of IBM, flight simulation and virtual reality, and this project will breathe new life into that legacy to reinvigorate the Southern Tier economy and show the world what I have long known, that Binghamton workers can be the ones to rebuild our economy and take us into the future.”

“I want to congratulate Binghamton University on securing this important funding through the Biden administration’s Build Back Better initiative,” Hochul said. “Combined with our multi-million-dollar state investment, this funding will help Binghamton University to establish this state-of-the-art facility, advancing critical research and bolstering my administration’s commitment to renewable energy, creating a cleaner, more resilient future for all New Yorkers.”

Binghamton University will develop a battery technology and manufacturing center in an Opportunity Zone in Endicott. Additional projects will support the battery industry and its supply chain. The entire initiative is expected to have a $2 billion economic impact.

“This will enable North America to develop batteries rather than sending our technology overseas,” said Whittingham, an inventor of the lithium-ion battery who helped lead the proposal’s development. “We can’t have a supply chain dominated by any one part of the world. We can have batteries that have ‘Made in America’ stamped on them. I’m excited to spearhead the prototype facility in Endicott. We have built a coalition with industry partners so we have plans that are already informed by companies’ needs.”

Per Stromhaug, associate vice president for innovation and economic development at Binghamton University, will serve as regional economic competitiveness officer overseeing this project. He noted that the team consulted with more than 50 companies from every part of the battery supply chain in developing the proposal.

“Everyone we talked to has seen the importance of the project and been excited about being part of it,” Stromhaug said. “We are ready to have programs up and running quickly, with the Endicott pilot manufacturing facility open in a year or two. The program will be a magnet for the region and upstate New York, leading to high-paying jobs in development and manufacturing. It’s going to make an impact nationally.”

The project includes regional workforce development required to support the storage manufacturing ecosystem, with dedicated programs to promote equity and participation of individuals from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Olga Petrova, assistant director of Binghamton University’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Partnerships, will serve as deputy regional economic competitiveness officer on the project.

“This funding from the EDA is a unique opportunity for comprehensive ecosystem building,” she said. “We will make a difference not only when it comes to technology development and manufacturing, but this will also benefit our region and its residents as a whole. We have already engaged community and local government and grassroots organizations in designing the projects. And we look forward to working with them to create jobs and workforce training programs, and to empowering our residents from various backgrounds to take advantage of these new opportunities.

William P. Acker, executive director of the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST), said the New Energy New York project will strengthen the state’s robust ecosystem for batteries and energy storage technologies.

“Through the New Energy New York program, we will establish valuable new facilities, including a new Battery-NY Center, to support large-scale battery prototyping and manufacturing of new innovative ‘leapfrogging’ battery technologies,” Acker said. “We will also grow and develop the domestic supply chain and workforce needed to ensure that New York State and the nation are positioned to meet the growing domestic need for batteries. The New Energy New York project will be instrumental in driving job creation, economic growth and equity and justice from the rapidly expanding global battery industry.”

New Energy New York includes more than a dozen partners: academic institutions Binghamton University, Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY Broome Community College and SUNY Corning Community College; nonprofits New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST), Research Foundation for SUNY, Incubator Works, Southern Door Community Land Trust, AM&T and The Clean Fight NY; and government representation from New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (ESD NYSTAR) and Broome County.

Binghamton University awarded $63.7 million in Build Back Better funds

The New Energy New York team: Associate Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development Per Stromhaug, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry M. Stanley Whittingham, and Assistant Director of Innovation and Economic Development Olga Petrova
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Binghamton University and its coalition of partners have won $63.7 million in federal funding to carry out the New Energy New York project, a coalition led by the University and NY-BEST with plans to establish a national hub for battery innovation, manufacturing and workforce development in upstate New York. A news conference will be held at 11 a.m. today, Friday, Sept. 2, in Symposium Hall, located in the Innovative Technologies Complex at 85 Murray Hill Rd., Vestal.

Binghamton University’s New Energy New York (NENY) project was selected as one of only 60 awardees in Phase 1 of the American Rescue Plan’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge. The University received $500,000 to develop a full proposal to compete for up to $100 million. Binghamton’s proposal was among 21 projects awarded federal funding, and one of just two in New York state.

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