CRANE - The Battery Innovation Center in Crane says an industry partner has "crossed-over" to set-up a dedicated operation within the public-private innovation hub for the first time. Interim President Ben Wrightsman compares the promise of the expanded partnership with Florida-based BrightVolt Inc. to "betting on a farm that already has a winning horse." He says a rechargeable version of the company's flat and flexible battery cells is expected to hit the market early next year. Wrightsman believes the technology has big impact potential for applications ranging from commercial to military, especially the Internet of Things, as well as shipping, wearables and even "leave behind" sensors used in combat.

He says the BIC has "always been in on" BrightVolt's technology since they began partnering late last year.

"We are excited to build on the past success that we have had with the BrightVolt team and believe that this new phase of integrated pilot manufacturing along with continued development of the technology will accelerate their cutting edge technology into market," Wrightsman says. Plans call for the company to locate around 12 key positions and research and development functions to the BIC by the end of the year., which includes a mix of relocated expertise and potential for "skill-up" positions in the form of high-tech talent filled by Hoosiers.

The $15.6 million BIC, which initially launched in 2012 and opened in 2013, has partnered with more than 60 clients in recent years and Wrightsman believes the move by BrightVolt could serves a catalyst for other potential locations or expanded investment. Two other companies, he says, are in a similar position to BrightVolt and could be on the cusp of scaling up with the collaboration of the BIC. "One of the key prongs of the BIC's mission is to work with high growth technology companies to help them validate their technology and reach the point where they are ripe for commercialization of their products, licensing, or larger investment," Wrightsman said. "We fully believe that our partnership with BrightVolt will be helpful to their development, and ultimately to the economic development of Greene County and the Radius region as more diverse technology is developed here locally rather than offshore."

BrightVolt Chief Executive Officer Todd Peters calls the partnership "an ideal solution," saying it could boost battery science development "that will change the world by making batteries safer, cleaner and more readily available for a wide range of applications." He adds the center is "the perfect location to advance this important battery innovation."

BrightVolt bills itself as the world leader in ultra-thin film battery technology and says its products are environmentally friendly, non-toxic, non-combustible and disposable.