Global testing and certification giant UL (Underwriters Laboratories) has chosen the Battery Innovation Center in Greene County, Indiana, as its partner in testing and validating large batteries and energy storage systems in North America. The UL Battery & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Test Center is being hailed by all parties as a “major win.”
Following extensive consideration on the options of building a new facility or partnering with an existing one, Business Development Director for UL’s Energy and Power Technologies Division Laith Amin says the BIC’s state-of-the-art facility was a major selling point. “What we really were seeking to do by coming together was to combine a facility where you could do everything, you could take the development and testing of product right the way through from prototype stage, right the way through the full suite of tests, irrespective of the scale, and be able to end up at the end of an initiative with a product that is fully certified by UL according to these new and class-leading standards in one facility.”
The official launch of the partnership takes place in the first quarter of 2016, when UL will place a number of employees at the BIC facility.
BIC President and CEO David Roberts says the partnership is a culmination of nearly two years of discussions that began shortly after the center opened. “We are absolutely thrilled for the opportunity. It’s a major win for the whole region, for the state. It’s just part of our DNA to work shoulder-to-shoulder with folks, and I think that that atmosphere was compelling (to UL).”
Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of Energy Systems Network, notes that the Battery Innovation Center opened in 2013 with multiple goals of researching and developing new energy storage technology and integration of energy systems. The additional goal of providing testing and validation services for the commercial energy storage industry was more difficult to achieve. “We quickly found that that third area is challenging to do without a partner, and the Battery Innovation Center being the new kid on the block was challenged to be able to attract the volume of customers wanting those services without the long history of deep relationships. There’s no better partner in the world than Underwriters Laboratory.”
Mitchell describes the new relationship as “very much a partnership.” He says many of the companies that BIC already works with will ultimately need certification, and UL has many clients that will need the BIC testing services for their products, so both groups will bring interested businesses to the facility. Large format batteries can be tested on all levels from performance under varying conditions all the way to failure mode.
Amin says, in addition to leadership demonstrated by the BIC, the facility itself has a number of strong points. Those include state-of-the art equipment, the layout of the facility, and, key to the relationship, the ability to access the US Department of Defense’s National Center of Excellence for Battery Technology at the Crane naval base.
Both Roberts and Mitchell agree that the new relationship with UL now sets the BIC and Indiana apart. “This partnership with UL and the BIC is the most advanced battery testing and validation resource, hands-down, in the world,” states Mitchell.
BIC President & CEO David Roberts explains why the UL partnership is a tremendous validation.
UL’s Laith Amin praises the Battery Innovation Center’s collaborative environment.
Paul Mitchell, President & CEO Energy Systems Network, describes the variety of tests that can be performed on large-format batteries at BIC and Crane.