Developing, scaling and manufacturing new energy storage technologies is a costly and challenging process. That pathway has been made simpler and more straight-forward, thanks to a fast- growing “Energy Sector” located at Kodaks Eastman Business Park, Rochester, NY.

Energy Abounds at Eastman Business Park Battery and Energy Storage Commercialization Center

Contributed by | Empire State Development


Advanced batteries and other energy storage technologies are key drivers to achieving a sustainable energy future. These technologies are changing how consumer devices and vehicles are powered and how the entire electricity grid functions, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and increasing the use of wind and solar energy.

Developing, scaling and manufacturing new energy storage technologies is a costly and challenging process. That pathway has been made simpler and more straight-forward, thanks to a fast- growing “Energy Sector” located at Kodak’s Eastman Business Park, Rochester, NY.

A key anchor at the Park is the BEST Test and Commercialization Center, the result of a collaborative effort headed by the New York Battery and Energy Storage (NY-BEST) consortium of over 150 members, including manufacturers, academic institutions, utilities, technology and materials developers, start-ups, government entities, engineering firms, systems integrators, and end-users.

Here, companies and universities come together to create prototypes for new energy storage and delivery systems, test them, do pilot manufacturing and throughout the process get technical assistance to take those products to market.

Another key piece was added last month, when Kodak and Polaris Battery Labs announced a strategic alliance to provide a complete “go to market” support system for rechargeable battery developers and product OEMs resulting in significantly shorter commercialization time at greatly reduced capital costs.

Polaris works with early stage developers to optimize the performance of their materials and to produce samples for internal study, investors, and potential customers. As clients prepare to scale up, the partnership calls for a Kodak engineer to be joined by an expert from Polaris to create a seamless transition to Kodak’s roll-to-roll production and cell assembly facilities located at the Park.   

“The equipment and know-how to operate these roll-to-roll processes has existed at the Park for many years,” said Dan Ocorr, director of Kodak’s Pilot Coating Lab. “For generations it was a key component in the manufacture of Kodak films. We have simply re-purposed the equipment for the alternative energy sector and its numerous applications.”

“Instead of creating novel materials for imaging, we’re using the equipment to deposit a variety of inks on flexible materials on a range of substrates,” Ocorr said. “We can slit, or chop, or spool them to a specified format, and then send them across the hall to the BEST Test Center for performance testing.”

The energy sector complex at the Park is acting as a magnet for growth in the Greater Rochester area – and to New York as a whole. It’s a major reason why New York State is significantly growing the number of companies and jobs in the battery and energy storage industry, said Dr. William Acker, executive director of NY-BEST.

“New York State is home is a growing and thriving energy storage ‘ecosystem.’ From Research and Development, to product prototyping, commercialization, testing, and manufacturing assets to a host of leading companies, start-ups and entrepreneurs, as well as global markets for energy storage products, New York is a prime location for the energy storage industry,” Acker said. “We invite interested companies to join our network and see what New York has to offer.”

The Park is currently the site of numerous clean energy companies, including American Fuel Cell, Cerion Energy plus Natcore Solar, Graphenix Development, NOHMs Technologies, Novomer, and Energy Materials Corporation.

Its immense infrastructure offers the “ideal innovation ecosystem for testing and commercializing battery and energy storage equipment and related technologies,” said Dolores Kruchten, a Kodak vice president and president of the Park.

Complementing the Park’s energy sector is the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the largest science and energy laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy.  Under that arrangement, Oak Ridge is helping connect emerging clean technology companies with the resources at the Park, helping in the creation of new, high-skilled jobs in the area.

In addition, the Park is supported by the work of scientists and students at the Rochester Institute of Technology (R.I.T.) Battery Prototyping Center, where a primary focus is developing energy storage products and materials.

“The Park’s ‘whole house’ view of the energy sector is helping NOHMs Technologies with testing facilities where we can get world class analytical equipment, future battery prototyping, and pilot coating facilities that represent milions upon millions of dollars that have already been invested by Kodak for use, and the battery and environmental chamber equipment which NY BEST has installed here,” said Richard Delmerico, former CEO and Business Advisor to NOHMS. “This is infrastructure that NOHMS doesn’t have to invest in, which we can leverage and use on an as-needed basis saving a tremendous amount of money on the road through commercialization.”

Nathan Ball, CEO of NOHMS, stated: “We’re working with the entire supply chain, which includes this invaluable Eastman Business Park infrastructure, to provide a new novel technology that can make everybody better, can make everybody’s market grow, and that’s why our partners are working with us.”

There is plenty of optimism surrounding this effort.

"Tremendous assets such as material and precision manufacturing expertise, a highly skilled workforce and university R&D resources make Rochester, NY a competitive location for business,” said Mark S. Peterson, president & CEO, Greater Rochester Enterprise. “All of these assets are perfectly aligned to help NY-BEST provide world-class testing and validation of energy storage solutions at Eastman Business Park.”


About Eastman Business Park

Eastman Business Park is a 1,200 acre R&D and manufacturing campus with over 16 million square feet of multi-scale manufacturing, distribution, lab and office space. There are currently more than 95 companies onsite employing over 6,500 people, many of them responsible for the development of our nation’s next generation technologies in the areas of Energy Storage, Chemical Manufacturing, Roll-to-Roll Manufacturing and Photonics. Additionally, the Park’s immense manufacturing infrastructure—including the private utilities and onsite water and wastewater management system—is a competitive advantage for its high-use tenants, especially in the Food and Agriculture industry. 

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

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