Battery Prototyping Center gets $1.25M in federal funding

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Matt Ganter, director of the Battery Prototyping Center at RIT, discusses how lithium-ion batteries are tested and produced. (Photo: Carlos Ortiz/RIT)

With $1.25 million in new federal funds, the Battery Prototyping Center at Rochester Institute of Technology will  continue its work to increase services, research and opportunities for energy storage technology.

The funding, part of an appropriations bill, will help the center expand in a national effort to bolster the battery ecosystem. The expansion represents the third phase of construction at the site.

The center was created in 2014 to position New York State as a leader in energy storage technology, including applications in transportation, grid storage, and power electronics, officials say. It was established as part of the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology consortium.

The Battery Prototyping Center now provides services to more than 125 active members of the consortium, and officials say there has been an increase in requests for research, workforce development training, product testing, and development in battery manufacturing.

“Batteries are an essential component of modern technology and key to an economy that is no longer tied to a dependence on fossil fuels. Overall growth is being driven by many diverse sectors using this technology,” says RIT President David Munson.

He says RIT and the center are prepared to lead the efforts toward meeting rising demand

“This technology and its many applications will generate millions of jobs worldwide,.” Munson notes.

Funding for the Battery Prototyping Center was backed by Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Rep. Joseph Morelle also supported the request for key science, infrastructure and economic development initiatives.

“RIT’s Battery Prototyping Center is a vital resource to foster the development of new companies and jobs focused on next-generation lithium-ion-cell technologies and materials,” Schumer says. ”This funding will supercharge RIT’s current work with over 100 industry, government, and academic customers to push the frontiers of energy storage technology while helping to attract and grow new businesses here in New York.”

The market for battery technologies continues to grow, reports show. A 2023 McKinsey & Co. report predicts the global market for lithium-ion battery chain, from mining to recycling, could top $400 billion (an annual growth of more than 30 percent) by 2030.

For the Battery Prototyping Center at RIT, the latest injection of funds adds to previous investments. At its inception, the state invested $1.8 million from the New York Energy Research and Development Authority and Empire State Development. RIT matched that with $2 million. The university has also contributed more than $1.5 million in staffing costs.

Others, including the state and congressional representatives, have added support to extend the capabilities of larger cylindrical batteries used in many military and space systems and electrical vehicles. To date, the center has attracted an additional $4.3 million in federal research funding and $1.8 million in fees through 49 different corporations and four national lab users, RIT estimates.

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

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