GE expands New York battery factory

Written by Douglas John Bowen

General Electric Co. Tuesday said it will expand its new, advanced manufacturing battery factory in Schenectady, N.Y., which is part of the company's new Energy Storage business.

GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said in a statement that the improved battery product could play a major role in transportation, including in locomotive production by GE Transportation.

The move also is part of GE’s recommitment to the aging industrial city, where the Fairfield, Conn.-based company has maintained a presence despite significant downsizing in past decades.

GE said its new Durathon battery products, which are half the size of conventional lead acid batteries but last 10 times longer, are the result of the company’s $100 million initial investment in battery technology developed at GE’s Global Research Center in nearby Niskayuna, NY.

Said Immelt, “Just a few years ago, researchers in our labs invented a new battery, one that was simple in its ingredients but advanced in its design and science, containing more than 30 patents. It soon became obvious that we weren’t just making a new battery; we were building a new business, so GE teams went to work designing an advanced manufacturing process to build the battery efficiently and a go-to-market strategy to ensure it can reach customers where they work.

“We’ll continue to expand the business into new areas beyond telecommunications to build the next generation of energy-efficient buses, locomotives, and mining vehicles around the world,” Immelt added.