The State University of New York (SUNY) 2020 economic development plan has awarded Binghamton University $2.8 million for its smart energy facility. The facility conducts research in solar and thermoelectric energy harvesting, energy storage, energy efficiency in electronic systems, and sensor development for energy resource management. The funds will go towards improvements and equipment in the lab.
A primary research focus is the use of lithium-ion batteries for energy storage in electric vehicles and other portable electronic devices. For example, lithium-ion batteries are becoming a common replacement for the lead–acid batteries that have been used historically for golf carts and utility vehicles.
“Better lithium batteries will let those devices last much longer. Your smart watch wouldn’t die after six hours. You could talk on your phone all day long, but that equally important is it’s going to allow for solar energy to be stored,” said Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Materials Stanley Whittingham. “If we have more renewables, we need more batteries, which means we need trained personnel, but we also need equipment to make the batteries.”
Once the initial battery research is completed, the center will work with a number of companies with the aim of creating a battery manufacturing center in the area.
The mission of the New York SUNY 2020 economic development plan is to elevate SUNY (State University of New York) as a catalyst for job growth throughout the state, strengthen the academic programs of the University Centers and promote business opportunities in the state of New York.