The Battery Innovation Center (BIC), launched by Energy Systems Network, opens today at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane making Indiana a “hub” for advanced battery testing and development.
The BIC will leverage Indiana’s public and private sector assets in advanced battery technologies to create a center of excellence that will meet the research and development, rapid prototyping and contract manufacturing needs of industry, academic and military customers. After receiving $15.6 million in economic development bonds from the Greene County Council, construction began on the 32,000 square foot facility last August. The building was designed by American Structurepoint and built by Keystone Construction Corporation.
“The need for robust energy storage operating systems becomes more apparent as the number of disparate assets in the total energy system increases,” said BIC President Charles LaSota. “The Battery Innovation Center’s diverse capabilities in energy storage system prototyping, testing and evaluation, and microgrid implementation are exactly what are needed to accelerate the development of this technology.”
“The opportunities for defense, commercial and academic customers to take advantage of this new center not only will demonstrate its world-class capabilities, but it will showcase how collaboration across sectors can accelerate innovation,” said Paul Mitchell, ESN president and CEO and BIC board chairman. “The technology that can be developed at the BIC has far-reaching impacts on everything from electric vehicles to military applications to grid storage. Indiana can be at the center of this innovation through this organization.”
A number of public officials and dignitaries – including Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann, 8th District Congressman Larry Bucshon, and NSWC Crane Commander Colonel Alan Pratt – will address visitors at a grand opening ceremony today at 11 a.m. (EDT) at Westgate Academy at NSWC in Southwest Central Indiana in Greene County.
"The Battery Innovation Center at WestGate will undoubtedly serve as a catalyst for economic growth not only here in Southwestern Indiana but across the Hoosier state,” said Bucshon. “This world class technology and research hub will place Indiana as a leader in battery innovation that will meet the needs for military and commercial markets and provide research and development necessary to American energy security.”
The BIC will begin work with 12 corporate and academic members: AeroVironment, Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC), EaglePicher, Eaton Corporation, Ivy Tech Community College, MEGTEC, Penn State University, Purdue University, Renewz, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Stimulus Engineering, and Technical Services Corporation (TSC). In addition, the BIC has significant government partners including NSWC Crane and Argonne National Lab, with which the BIC is a critical affiliate of its Lead Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR).
“The BIC has tremendous potential to positively impact the economic development climate in Indiana through the attraction of member companies in cooperation with its innovative activities,” said Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann. “The innovation and collaboration at the BIC are exactly the type of model we hope to build upon as we maximize our defense assets, commercialize new products, and grow job opportunities in Indiana.”
The BIC is already beginning several research projects:
• A Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) project with partner NSWC Crane focused on the development and prototyping of next generation Lithium-ion cell designs.
• NSWC Crane and AeroVironment have developed a CRADA project with the BIC designed to develop and demonstrate a large grid array battery test and evaluation capability that will be used for evaluation of future microgrid technologies.
• The BIC, in its role as a Department of Commerce Economic Development Agency Proof of Concept Center for Energy Storage Technologies, will be issuing a Request for Proposals in September from the energy industry across the country to find the best techno-economic developmental “disruptive technology” products for rapid commercialization using the support of the BIC lab.
The BIC will initially employ 10 highly skilled scientists, engineers and technicians and is a part of the WestGate @ Crane Technology Park in Newberry, Ind.