May 25, 2024
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Binghamton University-led battery initiative selected as semi-finalist in $160 million National Science Foundation competition

Olga Petrova, left, director of the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Partnerships, talks with Per Stromhaug, associate vice president for innovation and economic development, center, and Nobel laureate M. Stanley Whittingham in a chemistry lab at Binghamton’s Innovative Technologies Complex. The trio are among the key organizers of the New Energy New York project. Olga Petrova, left, director of the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Partnerships, talks with Per Stromhaug, associate vice president for innovation and economic development, center, and Nobel laureate M. Stanley Whittingham in a chemistry lab at Binghamton’s Innovative Technologies Complex. The trio are among the key organizers of the New Energy New York project.
Olga Petrova, left, director of the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Partnerships, talks with Per Stromhaug, associate vice president for innovation and economic development, center, and Nobel laureate M. Stanley Whittingham in a chemistry lab at Binghamton’s Innovative Technologies Complex. The trio are among the key organizers of the New Energy New York project.

The New Energy New York (NENY) project led by Binghamton University was selected as one of 34 semi-finalists in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) inaugural Regional Innovation Engines competition. The competition received 188 applications for implementation grants from across the country, spanning various critical technology areas emphasized in the CHIPS and Science Act. Winning proposals will be eligible to receive up to $160 million over a 10-year period to build out regional innovation ecosystems around technology sectors of national importance.

The NENY Storage Engines (NENY SE) proposal builds on the foundation established by the NENY project, supported by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC) and New York Empire State Development (ESD), to position the Southern Tier region of Upstate New York as a national leader in battery innovation, workforce development and manufacturing. The NENY SE’s core partners include Cornell University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Syracuse University, New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST), Launch NY and Imperium 3 New York. NENY SE is also made possible by the EDA BBBRC NENY 16-member coalition and 18 additional cross-sector partners.

“We’re proud of the Binghamton team that keeps working to make our region the epicenter for advancing battery technologies, as well as the manufacturing hub of those batteries. It’s imperative that the United States domesticates its battery supply chain, and federal efforts to support our work to make that happen are crucial,” said Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger.

If funded, the NENY Storage Engine will further catalyze the growth of the emerging tech-based, industry-driven innovation hub, expanding the focus to the earlier stages of academic research and development, and growing strategic cross-sector partnerships.

“Domestic production of batteries and a secure supply chain are critical to U.S. and North American global competitiveness and economic stability, as well as key to reaching climate goals set by New York state and the federal government,” said Distinguished Professor at Binghamton University and Nobel Laureate recipient M. Stanley Whittingham. “NSF Engines funding will support technology innovation critical to meeting these goals.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Upstate New York,” said Binghamton University Associate Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development Per Stromhaug. “With the depth and breadth we have when it comes to research expertise and infrastructure in energy storage available at Binghamton and our private and public partners, we will be able to supercharge innovation, technology transfer and commercialization of new technologies. With Senator Schumer and his team supporting us, we are confident we can transform our region, attract investment, create new jobs and fill those jobs with a skilled workforce.”

Building the intellectual merit of this exciting proposal requires a state-wide academic network for the use-inspired research and development aspect of NENY SE.

“We are delighted that the New Energy New York Storage Engine proposal has made it to the next round and look forward to working with BU and the other partners to make upstate NY a national leader in battery technology,” said Emmanuel Giannelis, Walter R. Read Professor of Engineering at Cornell.

“It is very gratifying to see the emergence of the lithium-ion battery economic development ecosystem that is being driven by New Energy New York with support from our state and federal government,” said Vice President for Research and Associate Provost at Rochester Institute for Technology Ryne Raffaelle. “Establishing a NSF Engine for battery development to support NENY will ensure that this ecosystem will not only be able to compete with other parts of the world for battery manufacturing market share, but will be able to lead through the innovative science breakthroughs it would engender.”

“The proposed NSF Engines program will not only enable complementary teams of world-renowned researchers to address next-generation energy storage challenges; it will inspire students to participate in the innovation of the very technologies needed to ensure a cleaner, more sustainable environment,” said College of Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University Dean Cole Smith.

“NY-BEST is proud to partner with Binghamton University for NSF Engines program funding to further catalyze and foster the battery and energy storage technology innovation ecosystem being developed in New York,” said Executive Director of NY-BEST William Acker. “Advanced batteries and energy storage are critical to addressing global climate change, and NSF Engines funding will help support regional innovation, stimulate economic growth and job creation while also addressing the pressing global climate change challenge.”

“Committed to venture development and advancing innovation, we at Launch NY are excited to be involved in the New Energy New York NSF Engines efforts,” said Launch NY Inc. President and CEO Marnie Lavigne. “Supporting energy storage technology translation and venture growth here in Upstate New York will not only have profound societal and national impacts, but ensure industry-driven and inclusive regional economic development.”

“Acceleration of innovation cycle is critical for the U.S. economy to compete and build a cohesive domestic ecosystem for battery manufacturing,” said Shailesh Upreti, CEO of C4V and Chairman of iM3NY. “Bringing technologies faster to market and converting them into an affordable product is something we have been focused on the past 10-plus years, and Binghamton University plays an important role in this. A new dimension to this is NENY, which when turbocharged with NSF Engine, could mean an unbeatable support system. Everyone at C4V as well as iM3NY is super excited to support this, be part of this and lead this as an active industrial partner.”

New York state, under the leadership of Senator Schumer, is pioneering critical energy storage efforts. Schumer’s support initially helped NENY secure $63.7 million in federal funding through EDA BBBRC, with a $50 million state match from ESD. The senator continues to lend his support throughout the NSF Engines competition.

“Binghamton is quickly becoming the beating heart of innovation for America’s battery belt, and now, because of my CHIPS [and] Science bill, the Southern Tier has the chance to supercharge its rapidly growing battery hub,” said Senator Schumer. “I was proud to have delivered the game-changing $63.7 million investment to jumpstart the New Energy NY project, and with Binghamton a semifinalist in the National Science Foundation’s Regional Innovation Engines Competition, they could win up to $160 million more. Batteries are the building blocks of modern technology and the lynchpin of the transition to a carbon-free economy.”

As part of the selection process, the NENY team will participate in a virtual site visit with the NSF in July, and, if selected as a finalist, will be interviewed by the NSF in person to assess project risks, committed resources and the team’s ability to adapt to a changing environment. The NSF anticipates announcing Engines winners this fall, with each awardee initially receiving $15 million for the first two years.

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