Research Enhances Performance and Sustainability of Battery Technologies

Effort promotes work of New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium

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A, Sue Weisler

Nabil Nasr

Many experts believe that the further development of the new energy economy depends in part on the commercialization of new battery technologies that enhance performance, increase use of alternative energy capabilities and decrease environmental footprint.

Working through a recently announced partnership of businesses and research centers, Rochester Institute of Technology will conduct two initiatives designed to enhance battery development for ultimate use in a host of applications from electric cars to cell phones to space satellites.

The New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium was created earlier this year by the state to strengthen New York’s status as a national leader in the energy storage industry and help build its clean energy economy for the future. The RIT effort is part of an $8 million consortium led initiative, funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, designed to develop or commercialize 19 cutting-edge energy storage projects from across the state.

“Creating more advanced energy storage technologies is essential for us to achieve substantial reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions and energy use,” says Francis Murray, president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. “The proposals we are funding will not only help meet our energy needs, but will demonstrate New York’s leadership in energy technology, stimulate world-class research and development and commercialize products that will help build a clean energy economy and create jobs for the future.”

“We are very honored to be receiving this support from New York state for our research efforts in this area,” notes Nabil Nasr, director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT which is leading the research project. “Battery technology is a key growth sector and will help reduce our overall environmental footprint while also promoting economic growth and job creation.”

RIT’s efforts as part of the initiative will include industry-led near-term commercialization partnerships and longer term technology development. Through a partnership with Ultralife Corp., Golisano Institute researchers led by research faculty member Michael Haselkorn will assist in an effort to integrate battery and ultra-capacitor technology on a common power circuit serving two renewable-energy generation sources. The system will also provide backup electricity during an outage and, during normal operation, allow customers to draw on the stored energy to reduce both their peak electric grid demand and the utility charges associated with peak demand.

In addition, Thomas Seager, associate professor at the Golisano Institute, will work to develop methods to recycle and reuse lithium-ion batteries, minimizing waste streams to landfills and maximizing reclamation.