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State awards three CNY organizations funding to develop advanced energy-storage technologies

By Eric Reinhardt


New York state has awarded two Central New York companies and a university $250,000 each for their work on new technologies in battery and energy storage.

A total of six organizations statewide will share in the $1.4 million in funding, the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news release.

The recipients include Custom Electronics, Inc. of Oneonta; Widetronix, Inc. of Ithaca; and Cornell University, the governor’s office said.

The technologies will help develop working prototypes that demonstrate the ability of these advanced energy-storage systems to harden the state’s electric grid and diversify transportation fuels, Cuomo’s office said.

Funding is provided through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology (NY-BEST) consortium bench-to-prototype solicitation.

The funding will help leverage a total private investment of $2 million, according to Cuomo’s office.

The money will help to transition new energy-storage technologies with “proven” technical feasibility to a working prototype, the governor’s office said.

A working prototype is an “essential step” along the product-commercialization path and increases a company’s opportunity to attract additional investment, according to Cuomo’s office.

Custom Electronics, of Oneonta, will work with Binghamton University and use its funding to develop a new electric capacitor for power-conditioning applications to enable a smoother, consistent voltage for sensitive, electronic devices.

The new capacitor will incorporate a flexible manufacturing process. Custom Electronics also expects the capacitor to provide energy density and greater tolerance to temperature.

Cornell University will use its award to develop and demonstrate a regenerative, fuel cell energy-storage system, using a Cornell-designed membrane, to produce hydrogen.

The project seeks to reduce the cost of renewable hydrogen production, which could lead to a transition to hydrogen-powered vehicles and a reduction in fossil-fuel dependence, according to Cuomo’s office.

Another funding recipient, Widetronix, Inc. of Ithaca, will work with the Cornell Nanoscale Science & Technology Facility to enhance the power density of the Widetronix betavoltaic platform.

Betavoltaics are millimeter-scale semiconductor chips that convert electrons emitted from an embedded isotope layer into electric power, enabling “decades of power,” Cuomo’s office said.

Widetronix is targeting applications in defense, industrial, and medical-implant sectors where the technologies’ longevity, high power density, and “robustness” in harsh environmental conditions are important characteristics for “critical” monitoring needs, according to the governor’s office.

This is the third of six rounds of NYSERDA funding to help members of NY-BEST move “promising” technologies toward commercialization.


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