GE to begin shipping batteries from new plant in January

Company will invest an additional $60 million to bring the factory to full capacity by 2015.

General Electric will begin shipping the first batteries from its new $100 million manufacturing facility in Schenectady in January and will invest an additional $60 million to bring the factory to full capacity by 2015, the general manager of General Electric Co.’s Energy Storage Technologies said today.

Prescott Logan was the keynote speak at Union College’s annual Business Campaign breakfast. The campaign raises money from businesses to support scholarships for Union students living in the Capital Region.

The $60 million figure is more than GE officials said they would spend on the factory on GE’s Schenectady-Rotterdam campus when they announced the project three years ago. Logan said the $60 million represents installation of equipment to bring the plant to full capacity. The plant will employ 300 people by 2015, which is 50 people less than first announced.

The battery factory will build the Durathon, a next generation energy storage device that uses sodium halide chemistry to store energy. Traditional batteries use lead and acid chemistry. GE said the new battery will last up to 10 times longer than traditional backup storage systems, will require no maintenance, produce no toxic chemicals and be fully recyclable. The battery also can operate in any temperature or climate.

The Schenectady plant is expected to produce 1 million batteries in 2012 and 10 million when at full capacity in 2015. GE officials said the market for the batteries could reach $500 million in sales by 2015 and $1 billion shortly thereafter.

For more on the story, see Thursday’s print and online editions of The Gazette.

Categories: Business, Schenectady County

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