Budding Energy Storage Entrepreneurs Get Help at NY-BEST

Entrepreneurs working on batteries and other energy storage technologies now have a state-of-the art facility to develop  their products – New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-Best).

Located at Rochester, New York’s Eastman Business Park – formerly Kodak’s headquarters – budding technology developers will be able to hone their product, test and validate it and even receive independent certification that it works. Eligible technologies use electrical or electrochemical processes, such as batteries, ultra-capacitors and fuel cells.

"The energy space is a risk-averse industry, and having third-party confirmation that the technology works, and is safe, is very important," Mike Kearney from storage startup Ambri, told Democrat & Chronicle. "We’re considering the possibility of manufacturing in New York, and this is an important step in this conversation."

Available for single cell to megawatt-sized systems, NY-BEST is actually a consortium of 130 companies, universities and  government. It’s part of New York’s drive to strengthen and harden the grid against natural disasters, increase alternatives to fossil fuels for transportation and foster new industries in the state. The state funded the 18,000-square-foot facility with $25 million and this year it’s getting $6.9 million from NYSERDA (NY’s state’s energy agency) and Empire State Development Corporation.

Through a competitive solicitation, they brought in global energy advisory DNV GL as private partner to invest in and operate the center. DNV is kicking in $16 million and is relocating its energy storage testing operations to NY-Best.

Entrepreneurs from each region of the state are also receiving funds through six rounds of solicitations – six were awarded about $250,000 each in March.

Cornell University’s project, for example, is about reducing the cost for renewable hydrogen production for vehicles. They are  developing a regenerative fuel cell energy storage system to produce hydrogen using a university-designed membrane.

Columbia University is the scaling of a system that a new way to store energy – converting electricity into energy stored in a liquid fuel.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is working to lower the cost of lithium batteries by using low-cost byproducts from the paper industry.

About 3,000 people work in NY’s energy storage industry, says William Acker, executive director of NY-BEST, and that should grow to 10,000 by 2020 and 40,000 by 2030, reports Democrat & Chronicle.

Hawaii also wants to be a test bed for new energy storage technologies and Tesla’s Gigafactory, which will work on batteries in particular.

Read our article, Energy Storage Startups Raise $105 Million So Far In 2014.

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