General Electric (GE) To Open $100 Million Sodium Battery Plant In NY

General Electric (GE) is out with news this morning that it’s going to invest $100 million to open a manufacturing plant in NY that will produce advanced batteries, including high energy density, sodium based batteries that will be initially used in GE hybrid locomotives.  The goal is to begin producing new batteries in the new facility within 2 years.

Matthew K. Rose, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, one of the world’s leading railroads, said, “Hybrid locomotives, and the battery technology on board, could be an important part of how we ship goods by rail in the future. The ability to produce a battery pack designed for rail applications is a significant milestone to producing a commercially available hybrid locomotive that will further enhance rail’s reputation as the most environmentally sound mode for moving freight in America.”

It hopes to use the batteries across a variety of applications which include heavy vehicles, backup storage and load leveling for the smart grid. This investment complements the company’s investment in A123, a private supplier of lithium batteries for plug-in electric vehicles.  The company will attempt to tap into that Fed stimulus money to help fund the project and I can’t imagine they’ll have any trouble doing so.  The plant will create 350 jobs in a state that has been ravaged by the demise of Wall St.

“This type of public-private partnership is essential to rebuild America’s manufacturing base, create new jobs and to accelerate the pace at which new technology comes to market,” said Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE. “We believe the advanced battery business could be a $1 billion business over the next decade. As GE launches this technology business, I want to thank Governor Paterson and his economic development team for their assistance in facilitating the agreement that made the selection of New York an easy decision.”

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