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Six Firms Receive New York State Grants To Development Advanced Energy Storage Systems

Area Development Online News Desk (03/05/2014)
Six companies working on new technologies in battery and energy storage, throughout New York State, were awarded $1.4 million to develop working prototypes demonstrating the ability of advanced energy storage systems to harden the state's electric grid and diversify transportation fuels.

Funding, provided through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and New York Battery and Energy Storage technology Consortium Bench-to-Prototype solicitation, will help leverage a total private investment of $2 million, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Office said.

“Investing in New York’s cleantech economy will revolutionize the way we store and transfer energy while creating jobs and supporting our state’s clean energy businesses,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “This funding will help to create new opportunities for manufacturers and researchers around the state to commercialize their products, help the environment by reducing energy use, and ultimately continue to grow our state’s green economy.”

Eligible technologies include energy storage technologies that utilize electrical or electrochemical processes and include batteries, ultracapacitors, fuel cells and related components that integrate these technologies into complete systems. This is the third of six rounds of NYSERDA funding to help members of NY-BEST move promising technologies toward commercialization.

Recipients were awarded $250,000 unless otherwise noted:

In the state’s Mohawk Valley, Custom Electronics will work with Binghamton University to develop a new electric capacitor for power conditioning applications to enable a smoother, consistent voltage for sensitive electronic devices. This new capacitor will incorporate a flexible manufacturing process and is expected to provide energy density and greater tolerance to temperature.

In Central New York State, Cornell University will develop and demonstrate a regenerative fuel cell energy storage system, using a Cornell-designed membrane, to produce hydrogen. This project will seek to address a key obstacle in renewable hydrogen production – reducing the cost – which could reduce fossil fuel dependence by transitioning to hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Also in the Central part of the Empire State, Widetronix will work with the Cornell Nanoscale 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. 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.

In New York City, Columbia University seeks to scale-up electrochemical reactor technology developed at the school using a system that converts electricity into energy stored in a liquid fuel. The New York, if successful, would have significant environmental benefits by providing a new method for storing energy.

In the state’s Capital Region, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy was awarded $122,000 and will work with Finch Paper of Glens Falls and JNC of Rye to develop high-energy density cathode materials for lithium-sulfur batteries using a low-cost byproduct generated by the paper industry. This project could result in lower-cost lithium batteries for transportation and stationary storage applications and enable some paper mills in New York to convert a low-value byproduct stream into a high-value cathode material.

In New York City and Finger Lakes Region, Con Edison and the Battery and Energy Storage Testing and Commercialization Center of Rochester will work with Ambri Inc. to develop and test a working prototype of Ambri’s novel Liquid Metal Battery for grid-scale electricity storage applications. With success, the technology will help customers reduce their electricity bills and will enable utilities to offset expensive infrastructure investment while ensuring a more reliable, safe and secure electricity system.

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