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06.17.22

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger, and Dr. Stan Whittingham, distinguished professor at BU and 2019 winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry, today released the following column on their joint effort to secure tens of millions in federal investment to transform the Southern Tier into America’s next major battery manufacturing research hub.

Following Schumer’s direct advocacy, Binghamton’s project was selected out of over 500 applicants nationwide in the first of its kind Economic Development Administration (EDA) Regional Challenge for the opportunity to compete to strengthen America’s manufacturing, secure our supply chains, and create thousands of good-paying jobs in the Southern Tier.

You can read the full column here and below:

IBM started in Endicott, Binghamton’s Edwin Link Flight Simulator helped win World War II, and long before Silicon Valley existed, Binghamton was known as the “Valley of Opportunity” for its booming manufacturing sector.

But as economic trends shifted, production was outsourced and jobs were lost to competitors overseas. Now, we have the chance to breathe new life into the Southern Tier’s innovation and manufacturing legacy.

Binghamton University is a finalist in a nationwide contest for tens of millions in federal investment to establish the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions as a preeminent national hub for battery research and manufacturing. The project, New Energy New York, can bring manufacturing back to America, create thousands of Southern Tier jobs and supercharge our economy — while combatting climate change.

Batteries are the building block of modern technology — from electric vehicles to cellphones — and the lynchpin of the pivot to a carbon-free economy. Yet, almost none are made in America.

Due to unique brain power and an ample supply of skilled workers, Binghamton and upstate New York are uniquely positioned to become a battery manufacturing hub and power our nation’s future.

The New Energy New York proposal — led by Binghamton’s own Nobel laureate, Distinguished Professor M. Stanley Whittingham, and Binghamton’s Associate Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development Per Stromhaug, in partnership with NY-BEST — bridges the gap between research, development and full -scale manufacturing, laying the foundation for battery production in the Southern Tier.

First, the project will train workers in skills needed for well-paying jobs. There is an immediate demand from local manufacturers for skilled workers, and this region has the supply to respond to that need.

Second, this initiative will spark new discoveries so the US can lead in the development of emerging battery technologies. Binghamton University has world-renowned faculty cutting-edge research and a track record of bringing new new technologies to market. Companies need the latest technologies to expand their production capabilities and compete in the modern economy. Federal investment will supercharge this center of innovation.

Finally, New Energy New York will establish a national battery research and manufacturing hub, investing in companies to produce next-generation technologies. The region’s hundreds of manufacturers, dozens of colleges and universities, and startup ecosystem make it an ideal place to lead the clean energy revolution.

It is already happening: iM3NY — a lithium-ion cell manufacturer — is constructing its first gigafactory at the Huron Campus in Endicott, and one of the world’s largest grid energy storage facilities is planned locally.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create thousands of well-paying jobs, secure our supply chains and fundamentally transform the upstate economy.

The decision on the federal award is expected in weeks, and we are making an all-out push for Binghamton.

Success requires that academia, industry and government work together. We are united in making that happen.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, of New York, is the US Senate Majority Leader. Harvey Stenger is the president of Binghamton University. M. Stanley Whittingham is a distinguished professor at BU and 2019 winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

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