The Business Review has done a special issue on the energy storage industry in New York. The highlights range from the NY BEST Commercialization Center to GE's new Fuel Cell plant. The technology sectors in the state range from batteries, such as Bess Technologies and Nohms, to ultracapitors such as Paper Battery and Ioxus, among many others. These companes are start ups and companies that have been around a bit longer, such as Plug Power which hosted a visit from Governor Cuomo just the other day.
These companies are busy creating the next generation of products to power our cell phones and electric vehicles and the patents to protect their innovations are starting to pile up. As indicated in a recent study New York is third in the nation in entrepreneurship.
In just the last three years, 41 Fuel Cell and 28 Hybrid/electric vehicle (HEV)patents have been granted to New York entities according the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index. New York's fuel cell patent owners include a range of companies and academic institutions from across the state including GE, BAE, Solid Cell, Corning, Brookhaven, Plug Power and the University of Rochester among others. HEV patents since 2011 were granted to a less diverse group that includes.GE, IBM, and Leviton.
A look at US clean energy patents since 2002 gives context to these numbers for Fuel Cells depicted in blue and HEV in pink, among other clean energy sectors, such as solar in yellow and wind in blue:
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A look at New York's place among the top clean energy patent states in 2013 put it behind California which has a diverse cleantech scene and Michigan which is the home of the US auto industry. New York's position has historically been largely fortified by GE, and primarily its wind business, with assists from IBM, and many others. The mix of contributors to New York's innovative mix appears poised to grow, particularly in the energy storage sector.
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A look at US patents using "battery" in the title, although not a very detailed analysis, revealed 158 patents for New York entities since 2011. These patents were also heavily weighted toward the big boys, GE and IBM, but also included appearances by the Raymond Corporation, Great Batch, Bren-tronics, BAE, Electrochem, Symbol Technologies and Plug Power, among others.
According to William Acker, of New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium as reported by the Business review, energy storage (e.g, batteries, capacitors) is poised to grow driven by new factors, such as distributed energy generation. and in particular solar energy. This source of energy will soon reach, if it has not already, a level where we it can not be used efficiently at the time it is produced, and thus it is necessary to move to a model where it can be stored and discharged when it is most beneficial. Elon Musk of Solarcity just announced a plan for more people to own their own solar panels which can only accelerate the transition described by Acker. The innovators in New York will likely have a hand in how this plays out which should make for an interesting ride for them and those of us wondering what comes next.