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ESD awards Ithaca firm $560K to produce COVID-19 respirator masks

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

Date:

ITHACA, N.Y. — An Ithaca company will use a state grant to retool its facility for N95 respirator mask production.

Empire State Development (ESD) on Friday announced it has awarded Bodi Energy $560,000. It’s part of more than $4 million that ESD awarded to eight New York companies to produce needed testing supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The firms can use the funding to retool their business lines and pivot to manufacturing supplies for ongoing response and recovery efforts.

Bodi Energy will use its award to adjust its facility for the N95 respirator mask production. It normally specializes in “non-flammable electrolyte [systems] for lithium-ion batteries,” per its LinkedIn page.

The Bodi project will involve a $3 million investment, which supports a team of 14 full-time employees and a manufacturing capacity of 60,000 masks per day, or 15 million masks per year.

Bodi’s masks will use a patented Cornell University technology “expected to deliver a superior particle capture efficiency at lower pressure drop than conventional melt-blown fibers and set a new standard of novel air filtration that allows for N99 and N100 ratings with significantly better breathability and comfort,” per the description on the ESD news release.

The ramp-up process will include the purchase of machinery and equipment, training of employees, and setup and configuration of the manufacturing line.

The effort seeks to fast track the masks for National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) certification over the next few months, ESD said.

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