The New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST) is creating the NY-BEST Battery and Energy Storage Commercialization Center to translate the State's technology investment into manufacturing and job growth.

Advanced Battery and Energy Storage Product Commercialization Center

Dr. William Acker | NY-BEST

What is NY-BEST and what’s your mission?

NY-BEST is an industry-led private-public coalition of corporate, entrepreneurial, academic and government partners building a vibrant, world-class battery and energy storage sector in New York State.

NY-BEST was created with seed funding from New York State in 2010 and today has grown to over 110 members, including industry leaders like General Electric with their soon-to-open 200,000 square foot advanced battery plant in Schenectady; BAE Systems in Johnson City, a world leader in the production of hybrid-electric drivetrains for buses; and General Motors which employs nearly 300 in their alternative energy center near Rochester.  Members also include numerous start-ups like Ioxus which manufactures ultracapacitors in New York that sell into the Chinese market, as well as the State’s leading research institutions.

NY-BEST’s mission is to catalyze and grow the energy storage industry and establish New York State as a global leader.  We do this by: (1) serving as a center for communication, education and interaction amongst stakeholders; (2) leveraging New York’s world-class intellectual and manufacturing capabilities and market leadership; (3) supporting and accelerating the commercialization process from research and development to products and widespread deployment; and (4) advocating for policies that promote the energy storage industry.

What is the impetus behind NY-BEST’s efforts to establish an advanced battery and energy storage commercialization center? 

We expect that tens of thousands of jobs will be created in the battery and energy storage industry in the next decade.  New York State led the nation in battery jobs in 2010 and, through significant State investment, has established a leadership position in R&D in the sector.  However, New York faces competition in this sector from other states and several Asian countries who are seeking to realize the vast job creation associated with this high growth sector. 

The New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST) is creating the NY-BEST Battery and Energy Storage Commercialization Center to translate the State’s technology investment into manufacturing and job growth.

 NY-BEST chose Eastman Business Park to establish this Center because of the facility’s multiple resources, including deep and strong expertise in coatings and roll-to-roll manufacturing, extensive and scalable infrastructure and equipment, and a captive 125MW power plant on-site to facilitate large-scale system testing.

Who is the commercialization center designed to serve and what services will the center provide?

The Center’s services will be available to small start-up companies, university researchers, and major established companies in New York State as well as to companies outside of New York State.

The Center will provide the key missing elements necessary for product commercialization and business growth in New York, including a suite of test, validation, prototyping and pilot manufacturing capabilities that will accelerate commercial deployment of energy storage technologies.

These capabilities—while vital to the commercialization of emerging technologies—are difficult for individual companies to procure and not presently available in reasonable geographic proximity or at reasonable cost. Creating a set of shared resources here in New York State will enable our companies to compete globally and act as a powerful magnet to attract companies outside of New York.

Besides batteries, what energy storage technologies will be supported and investigated at the center?

While the specific testing capabilities are currently in development, our goal is to offer services for a full range of energy storage technologies, from batteries to ultracapacitors, flywheels, fuel cells, electronic capacitors and thermal storage systems.  The center is being designed to also address the testing needs for new, novel battery chemistries and designs like flow and flow assist batteries.  The center will have capabilities to test from cell levels to full large format systems.

How will the center work and how will it be funded in the future?

The Center is envisioned as a public-private collaboration.  In December 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $3.5 million in grant funding for NY-BEST to begin work on establishing the center at Eastman Business Park in Rochester.

We are currently pursuing private and other funding sources to complement the State’s initial investment and working with Eastman Business Park to solidify our partnership. The long-term operations of the Center are planned to be funded through user fees.

Are we months, years or decades away from a viable energy storage option for utility scale projects?

NY-BEST members are already deploying utility scale storage systems.  If fact, New York State is home to two large of the earliest large scale systems – AES Energy’s 8 MW battery facility in Johnson City and Beacon Power’s 20 MW flywheel facility in Stephentown.  Additionally numerous other systems are going into building and applications new applications like wayside energy storage are emerging.  NY_BEST has advocated for inclusion of energy storage in The New York Energy Highway Initiative to modernize the states electricity grid.

How can interested companies participate in the Center’s development?

We are currently in discussions with several companies and universities who have expressed interest in participating in the Center’s development and have identified specific testing needs that they are seeking.  We are very interested in making connections with companies, researchers, system integrators, laboratories and other stakeholders who are interested in learning more about the capabilities we are developing and we encourage you to contact us at

What is New York State’s interest in batteries and energy storage technology?

New York State is uniquely qualified to host and lead the energy storage industry.  The State is home to a large cluster of key technology and energy-related companies and numerous word-class universities and research facilities.  New York has extremely attractive markets for energy storage on the electrical grid and for buses, trains and other transportation applications.  With a long and storied tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship, a highly educated workforce and strong and favorable governmental support for energy solutions, New York is well-positioned to catalyze and grow this industry.


Dr. William Acker, Executive Director NY-BEST

Dr. William Acker is a well known and highly regarded scientist and entrepreneur in the field of Energy. He currently serves as the first Executive Director of NY-BEST, the New York Battery and Energy Storage Consortium. He is a serial entrepreneur who has been instrumental in the founding of several successful energy-related businesses. 

Dr. Acker is a founder of MTI MicroFuel Cells, Inc., a leader in the design, development and implementation of direct methanol micro fuel cells where he served as the company’s CEO from its inception until May of 2006. He is a Founder and Chairman of Taconic Energy, Inc., a developer of fuel additives to improve vehicle efficiency and Optiwind, Corp., a developer of accelerated wind turbines.  Dr. Acker previously served as Vice President of Technology and product development at Plug Power, Inc. where he was instrumental in building Plug from a small R&D lab to a product development and manufacturing company.  He has also held managerial and scientific positions at Texaco Fuel and Lubricants Technology where he developed new fuels, testing techniques and emission-improving fuel additives.

Dr. Acker is dedicated to promoting energy technology and the energy industry in New York State. He is a co-founder of New Energy New York and serves on the advisory board for the Center for Future Energy Systems. He also serves on the advisory boards of Energy Rotors, a company located in Schenectady, New York and the Paul J & Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  He received a Ph.D, in Applied Physics and Engineering from Yale University and a B.S. in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic University.


The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag

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