New battery research centre to open in Ohio

As the battery industry hots up in the USA, research and development have taken an increased focus in the automotive industries. The new research centre is led by Ohio State University, with Honda as a leading industrial partner, among others. The aim is to develop battery cell materials and manufacturing technologies. At the same time, the center should provide an experimental learning setting for advanced battery technology workforce development. Schaeffler Americas, the Ohio State government and JobsOhio are also partners in the endeavor.

Honda is the lead founding partner and is providing 15 million US dollars for the battery research and development center. Earlier this year, Honda published more details on the conversion of its plants in the US state of Ohio for the future production of electric cars and their components. The Marysville Auto Plant (MAP) will begin preparations for producing electric cars in January 2024.

The state government of Ohio is also making a contribution with funding, of which there are overall commitments of $22 million, according to Ohio State University.  Federal funding has also been granted to the project and should support a 4,000-square-foot dry room. This is necessary for the assembly of battery cells due to the extreme moisture sensitivity of cell components. The combination of this dry room and battery cell assembly equipment is meant to help accelerate the development of batteries into practical sales for the electric vehicle market, among other things.

Among other industrial partners, the German worldwide automotive supplier Schaeffler also intends to develop solid-state battery cells at the new R&D facility. “Our strategic partnership with The Ohio State University provides a hands-on and collaborative approach to provide industry-leading and scalable solutions that will position Ohio at the center of battery technology,” said Jeff Hemphill, chief technology officer of Schaeffler Americas.  

A key area of nascent Western battery industries is expertise, and the research center is partnering here with JobsOhio. Besides battery cell research and production, the center will also include a battery education space, which should provide an experiential learning setting for advanced battery technology workforce development.

“The EV industry, aerospace and aviation, health care and more will benefit directly from this innovative center by gaining a competitive advantage in battery technology,” said President and CEO of JobsOhio, J.P. Nauseef. “This collaborative effort between Honda, one of the world’s most successful manufacturers, and Ohio State, a global leader in academic and industry research, establishes one more extraordinary asset for Ohio as industries across sector lines move toward more electrification,” he added.

This expertise development should resonate further, and the finished center should “create a hub for academic and industry connections across chemical and physical sciences, engineering, business and policy,” states Ohio University. The university is envisaging that the project will create “a strong pipeline of industry talent while also attracting electric vehicle battery manufacturing and supply chain businesses to help support the evolving vision for the industry.”

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