EVs will mean auto factories with a final assembly area that is half the size, requires half the capital investment and 30% fewer labor hours per car. Opening EV manufacturing in new areas? Learn from Lancaster, CA. Also next gen Lithium-Ion battery production in NY

In addition to the EV investments they are undertaking, by 2022 Ford plans to cut spending on future internal combustion engines by a third, or about $500 million, putting that money instead into expanded electric and hybrid vehicle development, on top of $4.5 billion previously announced. Ford also will cut the time it takes to engineer a new car by 20 percent, and invest in “factories of the future” that will occupy less space and use more robots.

Electric vehicles will mean auto factories can have a final assembly area that is half the size, requires half the capital investment and 30 percent fewer labor hours per car, said Joe Hinrichs, president of global operations.

October 7th, 2017 by , Clean Technica, BYD Officially Triples The Size Of Lancaster Electric Bus Factory With Grand Opening Ceremony

BYD held the Grand Opening of Phase 3 of its Lancaster Bus and Coach Factory expansion on October 6th, 2017, with numerous company officials, dignitaries, and employees on hand to celebrate. CleanTechnica joined in the fun as well.

The event was held at BYD’s Lancaster Factory in one of the newly added sections of the factory. The increase in capacity added around 300,000 square feet to the factory, bringing it up to 450,000 square feet in total. BYD has only owned the facility for 4 years and has continually increased the number of employees and the size of the location in that time, including an addition that was only finalized in March of this year to accommodate assembling electric trucks.

Compared to the tour of the facility I went on in 2015, the new facility is more than 3 times the size. The new location increases BYD’s electric bus production capacity to 1,500 buses per year. It has increased its headcount up to 713 employees with plans to add 500 more in the coming 18 months. BYD’s plans for the facility are not new and the actions we are seeing merely keep pace with the extremely aggressive plan BYD had for the facility in the first place.

The factory’s primary function for the company is to build electric buses. Think of that as the physical shell and interior of the buses. It starts with cutting and welding of the aluminum frame components, which are trimmed and welded together based on customer specifications that can be selected from BYD’s numerous bus formats and then customized to the range required by the customer. BYD sizes its batteries such that they will be able to meet the customer’s required range even after an estimated 70% degradation at the end of their projected 12–15 year life.

As the frame takes shape, BYD’s technicians bolt in its in-hub motors, batteries, inverters, chargers, and all of the fun low-voltage components that service the passenger cabin: lighting, indicators, speakers, and the like. Then it’s good to go. Buses are painted or wrapped per the customer specification, tested, and then delivered. It is not a lighting fast process, but BYD’s new factory gives the company enough capacity to churn out ~4 buses per day, on average.

Don’t expect those production rates to be realized immediately. Rather, production will ramp up as customer orders increase. The BYD Lancaster facility is the largest dedicated electric bus manufacturing facility in the Americas — an honor BYD takes great pride in. This is a testament to BYD’s continued foresight into where the market is headed and the pace at which the market is ramping up, as well as its own ability to bring down costs and ramp up production capacity.

Government officials and BYD leadership alike spoke to the importance of working together and, indeed, a diverse representation of Democratic and Republican leaders was pulled together to pave the way for BYD’s entrance into the United States and into Lancaster, which speaks to the importance of working towards common ground. For its part, BYD pushed hard to find the best location after identifying the US as the correct nation for growth at the time.

BYD’s move into the Americas will continue to evolve and expand as the market for electric vehicles continues to grow … and there is more to come from this event, but that will come later. For now, know that BYD has moved into its home territory in Asia aggressively; then expanded to Europe, South America, and North America with a force that reveals insight into the direction each of those regions is heading.

CleanTechnica continue to push and pull to get the latest updates from the company. And we’ll keep poking at the BYD team to encourage them to bring passenger cars like the BYD Tang (below, in California) to the US for American fleets and consumers.

Imperium3 New York Consortium Investing $130 Million To Commercialize Cheap & Efficient Lithium-Ion Battery Tech

October 7th, 2017 by 

A new consortium of battery tech firms that’s been named Imperium3 New York will be investing $130 million over the next 5 years to commercialize “an innovative technology for making more efficient and less expensive lithium ion batteries,” according to a press release from the governor’s office.

This consortium will be establishing new research and development and production operations at the Huron Campus in Endicott, New York. The plan is to manufacture “3 gigawatts of batteries by Q4 2019 and growing to fifteen gigawatts.” (One can presume this means “gigawatt-hours” of batteries and that the technicality was simply “lost in translation.”)

“This consortium of local businesses is choosing to stay and invest their next generation technology right here in the Southern Tier, breathing new life into vacant facilities and creating hundreds of good jobs for New Yorkers,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was quoted as saying. “Our investments to improve the business climate and spur economic development across Upstate New York are paying off, and this innovative project is yet another example of how the Southern Tier is soaring.”

Indeed, investing in the next generation of energy — such as advanced batteries — is one of the better ways to create jobs this decade and next. In this case, the new research and development and production facilities in Endicott are expected to result in 232 new permanent jobs.

The Imperium3NY consortium is composed of around 10 companies, but with only 3 functioning as the core — with C4V providing the core intellectual property; C&D Assembly providing electronic board assembly and battery testing; and Primet Precision Materials providing advanced processing of materials.

The full press release is below.

Governor Cuomo Announces Imperium3 New York to Establish Lithium Ion Battery Giga-Factory in the Southern Tier. Consortium of Innovative Companies to Produce Cheaper and More Efficient Lithium Ion Batteries at Huron Campus in Endicott and Create 230 New Jobs. Southern Tier Soaring Investment Advances the Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced Imperium3 New York, Inc., a consortium of businesses spearheaded by three Southern Tier companies, will establish research and development and production operations at the Huron Campus in Endicott, Broome County. The consortium will invest more than $130 million and create at least 230 new jobs over the next five years. Imperium3 New York will commercialize an innovative technology for making more efficient and less expensive lithium ion batteries while operating the state’s first giga-factory producing lithium ion batteries, producing three gigawatts of batteries by Q4 2019 and growing to fifteen gigawatts.

“This consortium of local businesses is choosing to stay and invest their next generation technology right here in the Southern Tier, breathing new life into vacant facilities and creating hundreds of good jobs for New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo said. “Our investments to improve the business climate and spur economic development across Upstate New York are paying off, and this innovative project is yet another example of how the Southern Tier is soaring.”

The Imperium3NY consortium was formed by nearly 10 companies, with three Southern Tier companies serving as its backbone:

  • C4V (Binghamton) will provide the core intellectual property
  • C&D Assembly (Groton) is supplying electronic board assembly and battery testing
  • Primet Precision Materials (Ithaca) is offering advanced processing of materials

Other New York State companies involved include Kodak and CMP Advanced Mechanical Solutions. The general market for lithium-ion batteries continues to grow daily and serves multiple industries, including renewable energy projects, electric vehicle manufacturers, cell phone and other electronic product makers, among many others. Industry experts consider C4V’s batteries to be more efficient and less costly than other lithium-ion batteries on the market today.

Imperium3NYwill locate operations at the Huron Campus in Endicott, establishing a new $130 million lithium-ion battery production giga-plant and hiring 232 employees, ultimately ramping to 15 giga-watts of production and hundreds more jobs. To encourage this collaborative effort, Empire State Development has offered performance-based incentives totaling $7.5 million, including a $4 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative grant and $3.5 million in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits. Additionally, Imperium3NY is expected to qualify for an estimated $5.75 million in New York Investment Tax Credits.

In 2016, C4V was recognized for its innovative battery storage technology when it was named a $500,000 winner in New York State’s first 76West Clean Energy Competition. Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, 76West is one of the largest competitions in the country that focuses on supporting and growing clean-energy businesses and expanding innovative entrepreneurship in the Southern Tier.

Additionally, Magnis Resources, Ltd., a publicly-traded Australian company, will provide anode materials needed for the consortium to make the innovative lithium-ion batteries; and Boston Energy and Innovation, another Australian business specializing in clean energy, will provide international sales and marketing opportunities. More than twenty international companies have been qualified by C4V as strategic suppliers of high-quality lithium, electrolyte, separator and other critical raw ingredients to Imperium3NY that includes a Lithium mine just hours from Binghamton.

Dr. Shailesh Upreti, President of C4V, said, “We are excited by the support shown to our consortium by the New York State Government. Green manufacturing in combination with the best utilization of an existing infrastructure in a distributed fashion would create an unmatched example internationally and make New York a global leader in product and component manufacturing for energy storage. C4V is very excited to be part of this scale up initiative and is fully committed to make this happen right here in New York.”

Jeff Cronk, CEO of C&D Assembly, said, “My company has always been about the local content, local skill and all markets.  We have been supplying electronics parts, components and end products to global market for last 25 years and actively looking for new projects that govern the future of the human race. C&D’s current manufacturing floor is capable of handling battery management system production for up to 20GWh annually assuming each battery is 80kWH in size.  Our knowledge base and deep understating of product quality control would give the New York consortium a significant edge in the market and I am very excited to be part of this consortium.”

Robert Dobbs, President of Primet Precision Materials, said, “Performance of a battery lies in the material composition and particle features. A good control over particle shape and size is key to extract best performance out of a molecule. Primet has developed and demonstrated its powder technology on tonne scale with various materials used in Li-ion batteries. Our demonstrated ability to reduce the capital investment as well as operational expenses would allow this consortium to build batteries that are not only high performing but also very economical versus batteries from Asia.”

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “The Southern Tier is becoming a hub for research, innovation and advanced manufacturing, and Imperium3NY’s decision to establish a giga-factory in Endicott is yet another indicator of the region’s bright future. This project will create hundreds of jobs and we are thrilled to see a concept that was developed here, will be commercialized right here in Upstate New York.”

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, “This new consortium is a tremendous step forward in helping New York meet Governor Cuomo’s aggressive clean energy goals by supporting both this emerging industry and new start-up companies. One of the reasons the 76West Clean Energy Competition exists is to enable companies to grow their businesses and create jobs in the Southern Tier, and we are thrilled that C4V has a central role in this project and in the Southern Tier’s clean energy ecosystem.”

Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Tom Tranter, President & CEO of Corning Enterprises and Harvey Stenger, President of Binghamton University, said, “The STREDC is proud to reinforce our commitment to innovation through projects such as the Imperium3 consortium.  This effort will work to provide the needed resources, researchers, and entrepreneurs who are working to advance the battery industry. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York State is establishing itself as a world leader when it comes to this burgeoning industry.

This announcement also builds on the significant work being done in New York State in the energy storage and advanced battery industries. Earlier this year NYSERDA made almost $22 million available in two separate solicitations for energy storage projects as part of New York State’s long-term investment in the energy storage sector. In 2010 the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology (NY-BEST) Consortium was created with seed funding from NYSERDA to position New York State as a global leader in energy storage technology, including applications in transportation, grid storage, and power electronics. NY-BEST’s membership – most of which are New York State based entities – is diverse and includes manufacturers, academic institutions, utilities, technology and materials developers, start-ups, government entities, engineering firms, systems integrators, and end-users. NY-BEST serves as an important connector in establishing a strong energy storage “ecosystem” encompassing all stages of energy storage product development and use.

A report issued by NYSERDA in January found that jobs in the State’s energy storage sector grew to approximately 3,900 – a 30 percent increase from 2012 through 2015. New York’s commitment to clean energy has helped spur the strong growth, which also saw annual industry revenues reach an estimated $906 million during the same time period, a 50 percent increase.

Dr. William Acker, Executive Director of the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology (NY-BEST) Consortium said,”The battery and energy storage industry is growing rapidly and the race is on to capture the high-volume, high-growth, advanced battery market and the jobs that come with it. Governor Cuomo’s support and leadership has helped New York State establish itself as a leader in clean energy and, as today’s announcement demonstrates, this is the ideal place to develop, commercialize and manufacture new battery and energy storage technologies.”

Senator Tom O’Mara, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, “New York State continues to play a leading role in the research and development of advanced, cutting-edge, and innovative energy technologies. We appreciate Governor Cuomo’s recognition that the Southern Tier region is well positioned to keep moving the state forward in this arena. These ongoing investments hold out the promise for exciting economic opportunities and job growth for the entire region.”

Senator Fred Akshar said, “The Huron Campus in Endicott is the perfect location to continue our community’s legacy of innovation and technology for decades to come. I applaud the hard work of the Southern Tier companies and their partners, Empire State Development and Governor Cuomo for putting the pieces together to make this a reality for the people of the Southern Tier.”

Assemblymember Donna Lupardo said, “The Southern Tier has a strong history of attracting new ideas and the businesses and jobs that come with them. With the Governor and the Legislature working together, Upstate New York is attracting innovative businesses like Imperium. I’d like to thank the Governor for his continued commitment to these project that are helping to transform our local economy.”

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the Southern Tier’s economy is soaring like never before, thanks to smart investments in local strengths and emerging industries. Imperium’s decision to stay and invest here is proof positive that the Governor’s economic development strategy is paying off and delivering real results for New Yorkers.”

Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring

Today’s announcement complements “Southern Tier Soaring the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $3.1 billion in the region since 2012 to lay for groundwork for the plan – attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Binghamton, Johnson City and Corning as a destination in which to grow and invest. Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs.

Perovskite Solar Cells Can Be Refined Through Exposure To Light, Water, & Oxygen

October 7th, 2017, Originally published on Nexus Media, by Jeremy Deaton

The last decade has seen a radical drop in the price of solar panels, driven largely by advances in manufacturing and installation. Researchers are developing solar cells that are even cheaper, using perovskite crystals, a cost-effective alternative to silicon typically used in solar panels.

New research published in the inaugural issue of the journal Joule suggests that light and water could be used to make perovskite solar cells markedly more efficient.

Perovskites are thought to be the next big thing in solar. While solar panels have gotten a lot more affordable, they will need to become dirt cheap if we are going to beat climate change. Buying rooftop solar panels will need to cost about as much as throwing on a new coat of paint. Perovskites might help us get there.

To understand how this remarkable technology works, take a peek inside a conventional solar cell. When sunshine strikes the solar panel, particles of light knock free surplus electrons from molecules of silicon. Those electrons flow through the metal lining of the cell and then by wire to homes and businesses in need of power.

The trouble with silicon is that it needs to be flawless to generate electricity. Microscopic imperfections can deflect electrons that would otherwise power a light bulb or laptop computer. To purify silicon, producers heat the material to up to 1500 degrees F, which takes a lot of energy and costs a lot of money.

Perovskite solar cells, on the other hand, generate power even when full of flaws. The raw materials cost less than silicon. And, in the short time they have been studied, scientists have made them dramatically more efficient, allowing them to convert more of the sun’s energy into electricity.

Perovskite solar cells have become dramatically more efficient in a very short period of time. Source: Varun Sivaram

Researchers from the United States and Britain have shown that it is possible to further improve the efficiency of perovskite cells. Rather than stick perovskites in a furnace, like silicon, it is possible to use light and moisture to remove flaws in the material. Everything needed to make a better solar cell can be found outside on a slightly humid day.

Last year, researchers discovered that shining a light on perovskites caused positively charged iodine atoms to disperse, and those atoms carried away defects in the process. But, when the light was turned off, the effect was reversed.

For this study, scientists tried to make the effect permanent. They exposed a perovskite cell to light as well as oxygen and modest amount of humidity. Light causes oxygen to bind with defects in the cell, effectively neutralizing them. A little bit of humidity causes the perovskite to form a protective shell that locks in the oxygen atoms, meaning the cell does not revert to its previous state.

“The processing is relatively simple as compared to silicon solar cell production,” said Tom Savenije, professor of chemical engineering at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and coauthor of the paper. “It’s a very cheap treatment to make these improvements.”

This research isn’t just useful in solar panels. Scientists are experimenting with using perovskites to replace silicon in LED lights and x-ray detectors, among other devices. “It is really the cheaper alternative material for silicon,” Savenije said.

Still, researchers have numerous hurdles to overcome before perovskite solar cells end up on our roofs. One is that perovskite cells degrade when exposed to too much moisture. Rain, for example, can cause them to can leak toxic chemicals, like lead.

“It’s definitely the stability which is one of the key issues that we should work on before commercialization is an option,” Savenije said. But he is bullish on the future of perovskites. “If silicon could ever be beaten by other materials,” he said, “this material has the best chance.”