GE to Build Plant for Batteries

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The new battery business will be a part of GE Transportation and will serve customers in the rail, marine, mining, telecommunications and utility sectors.

GE has invested more than $150m to develop advanced battery technologies, including a high energy-density sodium-based chemistry battery that will provide energy storage for a variety applications, including GE Transportation’s ecomaginationSM certified Evolution Hybrid Locomotive, mining truck drive system and tugboat electrification.

In addition, GE has launch customers in several industries, including mining, telecommunications and utility, with key applications for heavy service vehicles, backup storage and load leveling for the smart grid.

“We are very excited about the breakthrough in battery technology and the new production facility,” said Lorenzo Simonelli, President and CEO of GE Transportation. “This leading commercial-grade battery technology is essential in advancing our hybrid development programs and a vital step in the evolution of high-tech and green transportation solutions.”

The new $100m production facility will be located in upstate New York in the Capital Region and will create 350 new manufacturing jobs. New York State has partnered with GE in this project by pledging more than $15m in incentives. GE also is in the process of filing an application for U.S. Department of Energy stimulus funding for this project.

The facility, scheduled to be fully operational by mid-2011, will have the advantage of being in close proximity to GE Global Research in Niskayuna, where advances to the battery chemistry were developed. The batteries, which are a critical piece of energy storage systems, will rely heavily on new materials, new manufacturing technologies and intelligent controls.

The new battery business is led by Tina Donikowski, General Manager of Propulsion and Specialty Services at GE Transportation. Donikowski is a 32-year veteran of GE and leads all GE transportation businesses associated with non-renewable and renewable energy including mining, marine, drilling and wind energy.

At full capacity the plant could produce approximately 10 million cells. That translates to 900-megawatt hours of energy storage.


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