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Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks to the media after announcing a $2.8 million grant to support a dry room battery testing center and a data center at Binghamton University's Center of Excellence. Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger looks on.
Renewable energy research facility gets $2.8 million NYSUNY 2020 grant
December 12, 2016Tweet
On behalf of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday announced $2.8 million in NYSUNY 2020 awards for Binghamton University to support the development of a state-of-the-art renewable energy research and development facility. The facility, which includes a “dry room” housed in the Center of Excellence Building (COE) at Binghamton, will promote energy efficiency by testing current research efforts that focus on battery life maximization. It will also foster collaboration among multiple SUNY campuses, provide student research opportunities and promote workforce training opportunities throughout the state.
“Energy conservation is essential to combatting the threats posed by climate change, and we must ensure that New York is at the forefront of cutting-edge solutions,” Cuomo said. “This funding will equip Binghamton University with a state-of-the-art facility that will advance critical research and bolster our administration’s commitment to renewable energy, creating a cleaner, more resilient future for all New Yorkers.”
With the $2.8 million, the battery dry room, which was made possible through a $600,000 Round V Regional Economic Development Council Award made last year, will be equipped and staffed. The funds will also be used to develop educational materials related to use in electronic systems of all scales that use stored energy, ranging from miniaturized medical sensors to data centers, and to support a data center.
“I feel like I’m experiencing the future when I come to Binghamton,” Hochul said as she announced the award. “With the brilliance of the faculty, staff and team here, I feel like the picture is coming together. This region will be known globally as the clean energy epicenter. So this is an exciting day.”
“A dry room which is critically important to the continued research in lithium batteries,” Hochul said. “This will allow us to install the right equipment with the right people and will also to help fund a data center test center. Binghamton University has been innovative in so many areas where have great possibilities tied in with the governor’s energy vision of using 50 percent renewables by 2030. You are true leaders in this effort.”
Since the chemicals in batteries do not react well to moisture, the dry room features a very low-humidity index, enabling Distinguished Professor M. Stanley Whittingham and his NorthEast Center for Chemical Energy Storage team to test their research efforts to maximize battery life and efficiency.
“The dry room is currently under construction and this funding will allow us to put the latest equipment in both of these centers,” said Whittingham. “We’ll have teaching modules so students can effectively use the room in a just-in-time manner. We can educate the next generation of students in energy, provide trained workers to grow our local energy industry and make a more energy aware population.
“Our goal is to train more students with hands-on activities and they’ll actually use the equipment,” he added. “We have a very active situation here at Binghamton with START-UP NY and 76West projects, and at least three of these companies will be using these facilities. The battery business is very competitive these days and I thank the governor and SUNY. We’ll do the best we can with this funding so you can be proud of us.”
“Economic development is a puzzle, and putting those pieces together requires a lot of careful thought,” said Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger. “When I look at this puzzle, I can see the picture is much more clear now. We are really lucky to have Stan, an expert in area of lithium ion batteries. He has drawn international attention and will allow us to launch several businesses in this area, adding jobs, contributing to our economic vitality and to the sustainability of our earth.”
In addition to enhancing battery storage research and educating and training students, Binghamton’s dry lab will open its doors to multiple industry partners who will conduct their research side by side with faculty, staff and students. Binghamton has multiple partners in this new, renewable-energy storage facility:
• Binghamton will provide the experimental facilities and be the hub of the proposed activities.
• SUNY Polytechnic will provide the manufacturing expertise.
• The universities at Buffalo and Stony Brook will collaborate on theory/simulation of materials and systems.
Once completed, this collaborative funding proposal will develop a research, development and educational facility devoted to the study of renewable energy and will house workforce development programs in energy conservation.
Whittingham is the project lead on this new academic-industry effort, and is joined by multiple co-principal investigators: SUNY Polytechnic Interim President and SUNY Distinguished Professor Bahgat Sammakia; Kanad Ghose, professor of computer science and Binghamton site director for ES2, a National Science Foundation-industry cooperative; and SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor and Vice Provost for Student and Faculty Development James Pitarresi. SUNY Polytechnic’s Associate Professor of Nanoscale Science Eric Eisenbraun is also a co-principal investigator on the team,