The development of cheaper and longer lasting energy sources has just been given a healthy boost with news of the inauguration of an open innovation battery lab at the University of Michigan.
This brand new $8 million dollar facility will allow engineers, materials scientists, suppliers and manufacturers to work together to devise and develop ground-breaking energy solutions.
All those involved with the OI lab hope it will speed up the development of car batteries that are smaller, lighter and cheaper to make. It may even accelerate the creation of more efficient and affordable battery-powered vehicles.
Support for the lab has come from a number of quarters including the financial backing of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Ford Motor Company and the U-M College of Engineering.
Open and Available to All
The lab will allow prototyping, testing and analysing of batteries and their component parts. It will be available for any firm as well as students whose work and studies can be advanced by using state-of-the-art equipment.
The facility will also be open to people from non-automotive industries. Anyone with an interest in battery development and performance can take advantage of the equipment and collaborative environment to improve on their designs.
“This is open innovation,” said Mark Barteau, the DTE Energy Professor of Advanced Energy Research and director of the U-M Energy Institute. “I believe that cooperation between university researchers and industry is essential to create advances that have real-world impact.”
The University of Michigan also believes the OI lab will be a ‘safe zone for non-competitive collaboration’.