Big boys increase clout in energy storage

With some of the younger generation of advanced battery manufacturers facing bankruptcy, buyouts and an 87% reduction in Venture Capitalist (VC) investment (according to one report), the good news seems to be coming from the big boys moving into the territory.

Take General Electric. 100 years after founder Thomas Edison began dabbling in the car battery market, the giant corporation officially opened its first energy storage plant at the end of July this year.

GE’s sodium nickel chloride Durathon batteries had reputedly already cost the company US$100m before the opening of GE Energy Storage’s 220,000-square-foot battery manufacturing facility – and the company now wants a return on its investment.

The plant itself has cost a further $170m, but, says GE, its new business area (what GE Energy Storage CEO Preston Logan likes to describe as “a start up”) will be worth a billion dollars by 2020 – although, according to The Business Review, the company is coy about revealing its current figures.

The same publication has also reported that, as the facility plans to treble its output at the beginning of next year, it will be soon be needing around 75 new staff. As the eventual goal is a 15-fold increase on current output, GE is bringing some much needed cheer to New York state and the energy storage sector in general.


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