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After Schumer’s Relentless Advocacy, Binghamton University Secured A Historic $113+M Last Year In Fed And State Investment To Establish A Battery Manufacturing & Innovation Hub In The Southern Tier

Now, Because Of A New NSF Competition Schumer Created In His CHIPS & Science Bill, Binghamton Is On The Shortlist For Even More Fed Funding For The Project – Senator Is Doubling Down To Boost Binghamton With Up To $160M To Grow Battery R&D Hub


Schumer: Binghamton Has Already Gotten A Jumpstart From The Feds For Its Battery Hub – Now Is The Time To Supercharge This Project To Make Upstate NY The Heart Of America’s Battery Belt!

After delivering an unprecedented $63.7M million for the Southern Tier through the American Rescue Plan’s Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Build Back Better Regional Challenge, matched by an additional $50 million investment from New York state, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today revealed that Binghamton University’s New Energy New York project has advanced to the next round of consideration for up to $160 million in the National Science Foundation’s Regional “Innovation Engines” Competition (NSF Engines), which was created by his CHIPS & Science Bill.

Schumer is now launching an all-out push to secure this award for Binghamton University – and is calling on NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan to select the Southern Tier-based battery hub that he has fought for years to grow. Schumer said that with further federal investment Binghamton can help lead the way transforming the Southern Tier and Upstate New York’s economy with thousands of good-paying jobs to make the region a global battery hub, bringing back an industry from overseas that is critical to America’s clean energy future.

“Binghamton is quickly becoming the beating heart of innovation for America’s battery belt, and now because of my CHIPS & Science bill, the Southern Tier has the chance to supercharge its rapidly growing battery hub. I was proud to have delivered the game-changing $63.7M million federal investment to jumpstart the New Energy NY project, and with Binghamton now in the final running for the National Science Foundation’s Regional Innovation Engines Competition, they could win up to $160 million more,” said Senator Schumer. “Batteries are the building blocks of modern technology and the lynchpin of the transition to a carbon-free economy. That is why I personally wrote the NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan that Binghamton University is ready to lead the charge in creating thousands of good-paying jobs, fueling innovation to combat climate change, and bringing this industry back to America.”

“We're proud of the Binghamton team that keeps working to make our region the epicenter for advancing battery technologies as well as the manufacturing hub of those batteries. It's imperative that the United States domesticates its battery supply chain, and federal efforts to support our work to make that happen are crucial," said President Harvey Stenger, Binghamton University. "We once again thank Senator Schumer for all he has done to lead the charge in creating these federal programs but also for supporting our efforts to fulfill the vision laid out by the NSF Engines program."

"Our coalition of partners is excited about this next opportunity," said Per Stromhaug, Binghamton University associate vice president for innovation and economic development. "We have depth and breadth when it comes to academic researchers, workforce development experts and industry professionals. With Senator Schumer and his team supporting us, we are confident we can transform our region, attract investment, create new jobs and fill those jobs with a skilled workforce."

"Domestic production of batteries and a secure supply chain are critical to U.S. and North American global competitiveness and economic stability as well as key to reaching climate goals set by New York state and the federal government," said SUNY Distinguished Professor and Nobel Laureate M. Stanley Whittingham. "NSF Engines funding will propel our nascent ecosystem from growth to maturity, fueled by the foundational 2022 EDA Build Back Better Regional Challenge New Energy New York initiative."

Schumer said that Binghamton University’s project, along with 34 other projects, was selected for a next round site visit by the NSF, out of over 100 projects that initially applied. Schumer created the NSF’s Regional Innovation Engines Program in his CHIPS & Science Bill as a program that falls under the newly created NSF Directorate of Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships. Schumer originally proposed the creation of this Directorate in his bipartisan Endless Frontier Act, with a focus on delivering investment in research, workforce training, and entrepreneurship in key areas like energy and battery technology. The NSF Regional Innovation Engines program catalyzes and fosters innovation ecosystems across the United States to advance critical technologies like batteries, semiconductors, artificial intelligence, advanced wireless technologies, biotechnology, and more to promote and stimulate economic growth, job creation, and spur regional innovation.

Schumer explained that the New Energy NY NSF Engines proposal will build on the historic investments he was able to secure for Binghamton University last year to establish a full battery technology lifecycle ecosystem in Upstate NY. Binghamton University’s NSF Engines proposal will establish a tech-based, industry-driven innovation hub intended to bolster all components of the battery technology supply chain. In particular, the proposal will capitalize on efforts already underway and synergize existing resources to launch new initiatives focused on strengthening the battery supply chain, accelerating the transfer of battery technologies from lab to market, mobilizing resources around use-inspired R&D to complement battery manufacturing initiatives, and growing cross-sector partnerships.

Each NSF Engine can receive up to $160 million over 10 years; actual amounts will be subject to a given NSF Engine's status and overall progress, as assessed annually. NSF anticipates announcing the final list of NSF Engines awards this fall, with each awardee initially receiving about $15 million for the first two years. You can read more about the program here.

Schumer has long been fighting to secure federal investment to boost Binghamton’s battery manufacturing and R&D. One of Schumer’s first major acts as majority leader was leading the American Rescue Plan to passage to both bolster America’s response to the pandemic, and boost the long-term economic recovery of regions that needed it most through programs like the $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge. As the Regional Challenge program was stood up and Binghamton University developed its battery hub proposal for federal funding, Schumer began personally advocating to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo for the selection of the Southern Tier for major federal investment. In December 2021, following Schumer’s advocacy, Binghamton’s project was selected as a Phase 1 awardee out of over 500 applications from around the country to compete for a final award. In April 2022, Schumer personally visited the Southern Tier to double down on his advocacy, standing with Dr. Whittingham, to reiterate his support and urge federal leaders to select Binghamton as a final Regional Challenge awardee. 

In June 2022, Schumer, Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger, and Dr. Whittingham, all joined forces and penned a joint op-ed on the importance of bolstering battery technology for America’s future to again try to elevate the profile of the project. Finally in September 2022, Schumer secured Binghamton’s spot as a final awardee, with a $63.7 million federal investment, one of the largest grants, which was matched by $50 million in funding from New York State, to help make the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes a national hub for battery research and manufacturing. Most recently, Schumer brought U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, Alejandra Castillo, to Binghamton, to show the Biden administration firsthand the potential the Southern Tier has to be a national leader as a hub for battery innovation. Schumer also brought Dr. Whittingham as his guest to this year’s State of the Union to highlight Binghamton’s national leadership in battery technology.

Schumer has been a relentless champion for growing the battery industry across New York State. This past February, Schumer successfully secured Rochester’s Li-Cycle a major $375 million U.S. Department of Energy loan funded through the Inflation Reduction Act’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) program to create 270 jobs at its Rochester HUB facility. In August 2022, following his direct appeal, Zinc8, a leader in cutting-edge battery and energy storage technology, officially signed a letter of intent to make Ulster County their first major manufacturing hub as the company looks towards commercialization, which will bring up to 500 good-paying clean energy jobs to New York.

A copy of Schumer’s letter of support to the Director of the National Science Foundation appears below:

Dear Director Panchanathan:

I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by the State University of New York at Binghamton (Binghamton University) to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Regional Innovation Engines program for their New Energy New York Storage Engine (NENYSE) proposal.

With funding, NENY-SE will develop an ecosystem in Central Upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania to supercharge innovation and commercialization of breakthrough battery technologies, combined with cutting-edge workforce development programs. Batteries are the building blocks of modern technology and the lynchpin of the pivot to a carbon-free economy.

Batteries and other energy storage technologies are essential drivers of the renewables, electric grid, and transportation sectors working to address mounting climate challenges. NENY-SE seeks to help the U.S. meet the demand for domestic battery products by establishing a full lifecycle ecosystem in the Central Corridor of Upstate NY and Northern PA, centered around an emerging energy storage cluster and NY’s first Li-ion battery gigafactory.

The Engine’s comprehensive approach will connect key stakeholders across sectors and provide competitive advantages to the ecosystem, helping U.S. gain global leadership in advanced battery innovation, development, and manufacturing.

I applaud Binghamton University for its foresight, and sincerely hope the application meets with your approval.

Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me or my grants coordinator in Washington D.C. office at 202-224-6542.