U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow today unveiled a major new initiative that she authored to expand Michigan's advanced battery industry and create new clean energy jobs. Stabenow unveiled her new legislation, the Battery Innovation Act, during a press conference at the Michigan State University College of Engineering Energy and Automotive Research Laboratories. Stabenow's Battery Innovation Act is the first comprehensive plan offering Michigan companies the support they need to expand advanced battery production and job growth and ensure that America wins the race in the development of new advanced energy technologies. MSU's Energy and Automotive Research Lab is a $10 million, 29,000-square-foot research complex bringing together leading researchers, scientists, and students to develop hybrid vehicles and fuel-efficient technologies.
Senator Stabenow said: "When we make things here in Michigan, we create jobs here in Michigan. That is exactly what is happening in Michigan with the emerging advanced battery industry, beginning with the critical research and development being done right here at MSU to support companies across our state. This new innovation initiative will create the conditions to ensure our high-tech companies can continue to expand and Michigan can lead the world in advanced battery production and job creation for years to come. We cannot afford to lose the race to build the clean energy technologies of the future to countries like China."
Satish Udpa, Dean of MSU's College of Engineering said: "Advanced energy storage technology is one of our top priorities here at Michigan State University. The work being carried out by our researchers holds great potential for furthering clean energy initiatives throughout the state and across the nation."
Harold Schock, MSU Professor of Mechanical Engineering said: "Hybrid vehicles represent a great opportunity for saving energy, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and providing jobs for highly skilled students. The development of new battery technologies for advanced hybrid powertrains is essential for both civilian and military applications. We are grateful that Senator Stabenow supports the innovations that will enable the next generation of transportation systems to be designed and manufactured here in Michigan."
Apoorv Shaligram, a PhD student who works in the lab said: "The aim of our research here at MSU is to increase the amount of energy stored in lithium ion batteries, reduce the charging time, and improve safety. We anticipate that our work here will facilitate the rapid development of electric vehicles and advanced energy storage systems."
The Battery Innovation Act is the first coordinated plan that incorporates all aspects of advanced battery production, from research and development, to the availability and reclamation of raw materials, to the manufacturing of these high-tech products. The Act builds off of initiatives authored by Senator Stabenow in 2009, which made Michigan the battery capital of the world, supporting the research and development of advanced battery systems at MSU and other universities across the country.
MSU's Energy and Automotive Research Lab features a powertrain lab and two engine test cells- one of which can accommodate the development and testing of a large hybrid SUV or small advanced military vehicle. The research center increases learning opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students, enabling them to work in labs alongside faculty mentors, doing multidisciplinary research and preparing them for highly skilled clean energy jobs. In addition, research is being conducted to determine how to collect waste and convert it to electricity.
Research and development incentives in Stabenow's plan will not only provide a boost for more fuel-efficient passenger vehicles but for light, medium, and heavy-duty vehicles for our military as well.
Finally Stabenow's plan will spur the domestic supply of lithium, the basic raw material used in advanced battery production, by providing incentives to businesses, consortiums, and local governments working on enhancing lithium development. Right now, America is losing the race to other countries around the world in lithium development, which is critical to advanced battery production in Michigan and across the country.
Businesses and organizations endorsing Senator Stabenow's Battery Innovation Act include: A123 Systems, Chrysler, Dow Chemical, Dow Kokam, Ford, GM, Johnson Controls, Michigan Environmental Council, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, Blue Green Alliance, Hybrid Truck Users Forum Stakeholders, Hybrid Truck Action Group, and the United Auto Workers.