Michigan facilities score millions to open two advanced battery research facilities

Nov 30, 2012

This story was updated to correct that the $120 million goes to a a number of partners including two in Michigan.

Two new advanced-battery research facilities are coming to Michigan. The federal Department of Energy announced Friday its awarding up to $120 million for the project, including two facilities in Michigan; one at Michigan State University's Bio-economy Institute in Holland and one on the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow introduced the legislation to create new battery research facilities that coordinate with one another across a region.

“This whole industry and the innovation and research around it will really cement Michigan’s global leadership in advanced battery innovation and technologies,” Stabenow said during a conference call with reporters.

“If we continue our commitment on American innovation I really believe this is an exciting part of our future in building jobs and strengthening our middle class,” she said, although it’s too early to know exactly how many.

Stabenow says researchers will try to make batteries cheaper and more efficient among other things.

The two new research facilities will work with the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, which developed technology used to power the Chevy Volt.  

The State of Michigan will also contribute $5 million towards the new facilities through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

“We’re always going to have to make bets as a country in terms of where the next big opportunities are for us to be a world leader,” MEDC President and CEO Mike Finney said.

“We’re in a global race,” Stabenow said, noting China’s growing investment in battery research, “With our engineers and scientists and universities now with the recognition nationally of this national battery hub we are poised to really own and drive this technology.”

It’s not clear when the facilities will open.