BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Local community leaders got an update on the next steps toward building an energy storage ecosystem in Greater Binghamton today.
Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger and BU Chemistry Professor and Nobel Laureate Stan Whittingham spoke to the B-U Forum at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Binghamton.
Earlier this month, BU got a combined $113 million in federal and state aid for the creation of New Energy New York, a hub for battery research and manufacturing at the university and on the Huron Campus in Endicott.
Whittingham, who invented the lithium ion battery, discussed the importance of battery storage for transitioning from fossil-fuel generated energy to alternative forms such as wind and solar.
He says that if the technology is developed here, the batteries should be made here.
Whittingham says, “Our goal next is to start building the facility in Endicott, get manufacturers to sell us the equipment, basically engineer the building so that we can put the equipment in there. The goal is to leapfrog the Asian technology, we don’t want to just follow what Asia is doing. Our goal is to leapfrog what they’re doing, own that proprietary information so it will not get exported.”
Whittingham says IM3 New York, which uses technology developed by one of his students, has already begun manufacturing at its gigafactory in Endicott.
He says that while cells are coming off the line, the factory is not yet fully functional and that the large scale batteries won’t be ready for market for another 6 months or so.
Stenger says after years of investing in downtown Binghamton and Johnson City, it’s Endicott’s turn.
Stenger says, “Here we come Endicott and we’re coming big. We will be renting probably an entire floor, maybe 2 floors of the largest IBM building over there between 30,000 and 40,000 square feet. It will have a lot of employees over there that will be running the machinery to make the lithium batteries and they’ll all be Binghamton University employees.”
Stenger says that hundreds of B-U employees will work at the facility during the development phase with a goal of thousands of jobs among the various manufacturers and their suppliers.
He says the jobs will range from engineering to high-tech manufacturing jobs.