Binghamton battery-manufacturing hub proposal wins federal funding

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Members of a coalition of organization celebrated the federal government’s decision to award nearly $64 million in funding to expand battery manufacturing operations in Broome County. (Vaughn Golden/WSKG)

Plans to bring lithium-ion battery manufacturing to Broome County are taking a major step forward after the federal government announced it would award a regional partnership tens of millions of dollars in funding.

Binghamton University and several other partners will receive almost $64 million through the American Rescue Plan Act to make the tri-cities a hub for battery manufacturing. That’s in addition to $50 million from New York state, totaling a nearly $114 million investment.

The funding will be used to retrain and retool existing manufacturers to work on batteries and their components.

It also includes funding for more research into lithium-ion batteries. That will center around Nobel laureate and Binghamton University Distinguished Professor Stanley Whittingham, who originally pioneered the technology.

“When we came up with lithium-ion batteries, we were not able to develop them,” Whittingham said. “No American company had the investment dollars to do it, so they all went to Asia. What we hope with this program is to turn that around and have batteries made in America by Americans and particularly made in New York state and we’re going to build that infrastructure here.”

Officials working on the hub hope to build off of IM3NY, a new battery manufacturer located on the Huron Campus in Endicott. Part of their goal is to use the proceeds from the grants to relocate more companies involved in the battery-manufacturing supply chain, and the jobs that come with it, to Broome County.

The Binghamton hub was one of 21 winning projects nationwide competing for $1 billion of funding from the federal government. It received the second largest amount for a single project. A proposal to develop advanced manufacturing in western New York was awarded $25 million as part of the program.