GE announced July 10 that it will expand its new, advanced manufacturing battery factory in Schenectady, New York to increase production of the new Durathon battery products, which are half the size of conventional lead acid batteries but last ten times longer.
The breakthrough technology, developed at GE‘s Global Research Center in nearby Niskayuna, NY, will provide reliable and cost-effective energy storage options for a broad range of GE customers globally, including telecom and utility operators. GE announced that on top of its $100 million initial investment in battery technology, it will invest an additional $70 million to expand the Schenectady plant, effectively doubling production and adding 100 new jobs, which will bring the total factory workforce to 450 when at full capacity.
Megatron Federal, an engineering company with products and services in power generation, transmission, distribution, construction and telecommunications based in Johannesburg, South Africa, has signed a purchase agreement for 6,000 batteries, which will be delivered in 2013. These batteries will ensure the continuous operation of telecom installations in Nigeria, and enable the customer to lower fuel consumption and emissions of the diesel generator powered telecom towers by up to 50 percent.
The batteries are produced using abundantly available raw materials such as salt and nickel and are non-toxic and recyclable. The batteries can operate at temperatures ranging from minus 4° Fahrenheit to 140° Fahrenheit. The batteries have received GE‘s ecomagination certification from a third party for their environmental and financial benefits.
The new battery plant, part of GE’s Energy Storage business, is about the size of four football fields. Its projected annual production capacity is approximately one Giga-watt hour (GWh), enough energy to power 1,000 typical American homes for one month.
Read the press release here.