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Binghamton University launches Upstate NY Energy Storage Engine

Binghamton University recently celebrated the official launch of the Upstate New York Energy Storage Engine, a designation it won earlier this year from the National Science Foundation. (Photo credit: Binghamton University website)

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Binghamton University, joined by National Science Foundation (NSF) officials, has officially launched the Upstate New York Energy Storage Engine after winning the designation earlier this year.

As one of 10 inaugural NSF Regional Innovation Engines in the country, the Energy Storage Engine will receive $15 million from NSF for the first two years of the project and up to $160 million over 10 years.

“We’re thrilled to see the impact and progress from the New York NSF Engine,” NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said in a press statement. “In just a few short months, with the support of the NSF and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, this team has already been building serious momentum by creating new industry partnerships and laying the groundwork to build new battery-development facilities to accelerate energy and battery supply-chain innovations while driving technology innovation, U.S. competitiveness, and local workforce development.”


Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger and Erwin Gianchandani, NSF assistant director of the Technology, Innovation and Partnerships Directorate, held a Thursday, June 27 press event at the former Gannett warehouse facility in Johnson City, now owned by the university’s foundation, which will serve as the future home of the Battery NY research and development center supporting industries looking to create advanced, sustainable battery technologies.

“This is an exciting step in our vision for creating a full-scale, lab-to-market battery economy right here in upstate New York,” Stenger said at the event. “Through NENY (New Energy New York) and its partnerships with federal agencies, other colleges and universities, and industry-leading companies and startups, we’re striving to be global innovators in batteries and energy storage.”

Meera Sampath, associate dean of research and graduate studies at Binghamton University’s Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science, will serve as acting CEO of the Upstate NY Energy Storage Engine.

“Batteries and storage technologies are foundational to a carbon-neutral economy and to meeting our New York energy goals,” Sampath said. “I am very honored to be part of the team that will drive innovation and inclusive growth in this crucial technology area.”

Originally announced in 2021 when Binghamton University won $500,000 in technical-assistance funding in the first phase of the American Rescue Plan’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC) with a proposal to turn the Southern Tier into an energy technology hub, Battery NY was originally planned for a different site, Stenger noted. However, the Johnson City building is in a central location, closer to the university, with more room to build and the potential for future expansion.

Along with the NSF engine designation, Battery NY also received $63.7 million through the BBBRC in September 2022 and was designated as a federal battery tech hub last October.

NENY builds on the research of professor M. Stanley Whittingham, who received the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2019 for his work in the development of lithium-ion batteries.

“This funding will let us come up with new inventions, which we intend to test out and build up to a commercial stage in this facility,” he said.

Founded two years ago, NENY has attracted academic and corporate partners that have developed a host of programs to support the growth of the battery and energy-storage manufacturing industry.

Empire State Development is supporting all the NENY initiatives with more than $60 million in state funding.


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