- Ohio State University is partnering with several auto industry stakeholders to establish a battery cell research and development center in Ohio. Partners include Honda, solid-state battery maker Schaeffler Americas, economic development corporation JobsOhio, and the state government.
- The 25,000-square-foot renovated facility will be housed on Ohio State’s campus and aims to accelerate the development of battery cell materials and manufacturing technologies for EVs and provide a learning environment for workforce development, according to a Nov. 13 Ohio State University release.
- Honda, which is the lead foundational partner for the project, is investing $15 million in the center, which is slated to open in April 2025.
The center received $4.5 million from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Extramural Construction program, which funds the construction of research facilities. The federal funding will go into the construction of a 4,000 square-foot dry room for the assembly of battery cells.
The Institute for Materials and Manufacturing Research at Ohio State will manage and operate the center, which will produce thousands of cells annually, according to Jay Sayre, the director of innovation at the institute.
“The government wants to develop and domestically manufacture energy storage technologies, and everybody wants to do it with training, reskilling and upskilling the workforce so, for us, we want to be right in the middle of all that,” Sayre said.
While Honda is currently the project’s biggest investor, the center is open to other manufacturers that can “pay to play” and use its resources, Sayre said. Other companies in the EV sector, as well as different industries like aerospace and aviation, healthcare and more, could benefit from the center’s work on battery technology, JobsOhio President and CEO J.P. Nauseef said in the release.
Ohio State isn’t the first university to pioneer an on-campus battery research and development center. The University of Michigan Battery Lab was established in 2015, and in April the school announced it would expand to include an electric vehicle center via a $130 million investment from the state of Michigan.
Ohio is a hub for EV manufacturing. Honda, which has multiple facilities in the state, announced plans in March to spend $700 million to retool three Ohio plants to build EVs, and LG Energy Solution and GM’s joint venture Ultium Cells built a battery plant in the state last year.
“You look at that region around us, within a day's drive, over 75% of all EVs in North America are made within that day's drive over the next few years,” Sayre said. “So like I tell our students, it's never been a better time to be a student studying this area.”