A new agreement between the Battery Innovation Group and the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (more commonly known as Crane) means BIG and its strategic partner, the nonprofit Battery Innovation Center, can make use of Crane’s world-class battery facilities.

“This agreement took over a year to get in place,” explains Paul Mitchell of Energy Systems Network, which launched the BIC in 2012. “But with the siting of the BIC facility outside the gates of Crane, it was always the intention of the partners that formed the Battery Innovation Center that it should be next to Crane. What this agreement does is allows us to have more streamlined access to the base to leverage those facilities and labs and use our own people to do the work.” Mitchell adds that the emphasis on security and safety protocols was an important component of the agreement timeline.

The agreement is called a Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence (CITE) partnership, establishing a public-private partnership between Crane and the BIG. The access to over $100 million worth of laboratories and technology has been key to current and developing relationships between the BIG, the BIC and other parties, both nonprofit and commercial.

BIC president David Roberts says the recent addition of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) as a testing partner is a prime example of the benefit of the Crane relationship.

“The Battery Innovation Group is the entity that partnered with Crane to establish this testing agreement whereby partners from industry can come and access the unique capabilities that Crane has. This arrangement was one of the key points in our development of an agreement with Underwriters Laboratories. One of the things they wanted to see us have is access to a broader range of test capabilities. Crane has some of the most unique capabilities in the entire world when it comes to testing.”

UL has established its Battery and Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Test Center at the Battery Innovation Center for clients that need commercial certification for their energy storage products for a National Recognized Testing Laboratory.

The Battery Innovation Center houses a state-of-the-art, $15.6 million energy research lab in addition to providing a virtual collaborative network of capabilities for developers of next-generation energy storage solutions. Roberts says its close proximity to Crane is expected to bring important results not only to the battery industry.

“Ultimately, the goal behind this agreement is to increase the utilization of assets within Crane and therefore strengthen Crane’s impact on the local economy and industry as well.”

“It is an important last step for the BIC to feel that we have our full capabilities available to industry. We have a wonderful facility today and have been doing great work for industry already, and this gives us access to even more labs and capabilities that make us really the most robust battery testing, validation and prototyping operation in the country.”

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Dave Roberts says the partnership also demonstrates the benefits of rural and STEM opportunities in Indiana.