VESTAL, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Senate Majority leader and senior New York Senator Chuck Schumer is inviting Binghamton University Chemistry Professor Stan Whittingham to be in the audience at the State of the Union address Tuesday evening.

Whittingham is the inventor of the lithium-ion battery and winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Schumer was a big supporter of a $63 million award for New Energy New York in the federal Build Back Better Regional Challenge.

New Energy New York is an effort spearheaded by Whittingham and B.U. to establish a national hub for lithium-ion battery innovation, manufacturing and workforce development on the Huron Campus in Endicott.

Whittingham hopes his attendance tonight will help to raise the profile of Greater Binghamton.

“I’ve spent time in industry so I know what it takes to make something successful. I think a lot of my ex-students have been very successful both in academia and business in this country. The more we can do, the more we can publicize, the more we can attract people to Broome County. But we have to keep selling Broome County as a great place.”

Prior to the speech, Whittingham was to meet with Senator Schumer and members of his staff at the Capitol.

Whittingham says the biggest challenge for New Energy New York is cultivating the necessary trained workforce.

He also says the group plans to apply for a National Science Foundation Engines grant which could result in millions more dollars in funding.

However, he says it’s a bit of a long shot as there will likely be a thousand applicants and only 5 awards.

Biden’s speech begins at 9 tonight and will be carried on both of our stations.