NYSERDA Awards $650,000 to Primet Precision Materials of Ithaca to Further Work on Energy-Efficient Battery Materials Process

By WBNG News

NYSERDA Awards $650,000 to Primet Precision Materials of Ithaca to Further Work on Energy-Efficient Battery Materials Process

January 10, 2013 Updated Jan 10, 2013 at 6:52 PM EDT

ITHACA, N.Y. (WBNG Binghamton) -- The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has awarded $650,000 to Primet Precision Materials of Ithaca to further the company’s work on developing a more energy-efficient process to manufacture high-end battery materials.

According to a news release issued Thursday:

The funding will also be used for the firm to develop an improved lithium titanate anode material that could improve battery safety and make more efficient rechargeable batteries for a variety of uses, including modular utility electric systems for use at wind and solar generating sites.

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are increasingly being used in smart-grid applications for energy storage, which can store electricity created by renewable resources like wind, solar and hydropower. Such storage devices are also used to smooth out energy surges and dips, in turn making gas- and oil-fired electric generators more fuel-efficient. Li-ion batteries are also used in electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as other products.

Primet is working on rechargeable battery materials that offer better energy storage than most batteries made today. The materials can also be manufactured at a lower cost. Once manufactured, the materials will be used to make demonstration cells of various sizes.

The NYSERDA funding has two facets:

•    $400,000 under NYSERDA’s Innovation in the Manufacturing of Clean Energy Technologies Program, for the company to scale up production of its NanoScission process, a novel particle-processing technology used to produce performance-enhancing battery materials. The funding, which is meant to help commercialize technology in the clean energy sector, will allow Primet to grow its process from lab-scale to a continuous NanoScission manufacturing process that can produce tons of materials. The NanoScission process is estimated to require a fourth of the energy used in conventional battery material production, at a third of the cost.

•    $250,000, in conjunction with the New York Battery Energy Storage Technology (NY-BEST) Consortium, for Primet to continue seeking new markets for its anode materials, a lower-priced alternative to many products on the market today. Primet’s product also has the advantage of being produced with a much more energy-efficient process. Primet is a member of NY-BEST.

The NYSERDA funding will leverage an additional $1.5 million in matching funds and in-kind services from Primet. The funding will result in up to five new positions at the company, with the likelihood of additional production, quality and distribution jobs in the next few years.

“This public-private partnership represents the type of investment, under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, that the state is making to ensure a more reliable and energy efficient future for all New Yorkers,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO, NYSERDA. “The energy storage sector is an important component in New York’s cleantech economy, and the investments made today will provide the technology needed for the energy consumers of tomorrow.”

Dr. William Acker, Executive Director of the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium said, “NY-BEST congratulates Primet Precision on these NYSERDA grants.  Advanced battery and energy storage companies like Primet are a rapidly growing segment of our economy and are literally changing the way we use energy. As we seek new ways to reliably power our electric and transportation systems, energy storage technologies will play an increasingly important role and New York’s companies are leading this transformation.”

Primet CEO Larry Thomas said he was pleased to see NYSERDA funding a project that bridges the gap between lab research and development and large-scale manufacturing.
“The place where you get an economic benefit is when lab work becomes production work,” he said. “When you start hiring operating technicians and mechanics, that’s when you get the real benefits of job growth.” Primet was founded in 2004 in Maryland by Robert Dobbs, a materials engineer and current chief technology officer. The company moved in 2005 to Ithaca and is currently headed by CEO Larry Thomas.

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