Ohio State, Honda, business, state, federal leaders announce partnership for battery cell research center

Goal is to translate fundamental research to manufacturing of advanced EV battery cells

The Ohio State University was joined by Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, congressional leaders, Honda, Schaeffler Americas and JobsOhio officials Monday to announce the creation of a new battery cell research and development center.

Slated to open in April 2025, the lab will accelerate the domestic development of battery cell materials and manufacturing technologies while providing an experiential learning setting for advanced battery technology workforce development.

With $22 million in commitments to date, this project will include the renovation of a 25,000-square-foot facility in Ohio State's innovation district into a dedicated battery cell research, production and education support space. The center will be managed and operated at Ohio State by the Institute for Materials and Manufacturing Research (IMR).

"Ohio State's commitment to research, innovation and bringing solutions to the world is at the heart of our land-grant mission," said Peter Mohler, acting president and executive vice president for research, innovation and knowledge at Ohio State. "We have more reach and impact when we work with our partners at the local, state and federal levels and we join industry-leading partners like Honda and Schaeffler."

Honda will serve as lead foundational partner for the project and has committed $15 million for the research and development center. The project was also endorsed by the State of Ohio and JobsOhio.

"Honda is committed to an electrified future for our automobiles, motorcycles and power products worldwide," said Bob Nelson, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "We have had a long-standing relationship with Ohio State that goes back more than 30 years, and this new facility is an extension of that great partnership. This facility will be a great resource to train the next-generation workforce in advanced manufacturing technologies.

The completed project will also create a hub for academic and industry connections across chemical and physical sciences, engineering, business and policy. Once completed, the project will create a strong pipeline of industry talent while also attracting electric vehicle battery manufacturing and supply chain businesses to help support the evolving vision for the industry.

"Schaeffler is developing the next generation of all solid-state battery technology to support the automotive industry's transition to electric mobility. Our strategic partnership with The Ohio State University provides a hands-on and collaborative approach with the goal of providing industry-leading and scalable solutions that will position Ohio at the center of battery technology," said Jeff Hemphill, chief technology officer of Schaeffler Americas.

"When presented with an opportunity to take the lead in battery innovation, particularly with reputable Ohio employers such as Honda and Schaeffler, it is wise to capitalize on that potential," said Husted. "Establishing this battery technologies innovation center on Ohio State's campus will play a key role in ensuring that we continue to be pioneers in automotive and sustainability advancements."

"The EV industry, aerospace and aviation, health care and more will benefit directly from this innovative center by gaining a competitive advantage in battery technology," said JobsOhio President and CEO J.P. Nauseef. "This collaborative effort between Honda, one of the world's most successful manufacturers, and Ohio State, a global leader in academic and industry research, establishes one more extraordinary asset for Ohio as industries across sector lines move toward more electrification."

Congressional champions for this project include U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and U.S. Reps. Joyce Beatty and Mike Carey, who all participated in today's event. Through their work, $4.5 million in federal funding was secured through the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Extramural Construction program.

"We know how to make cars in Ohio. The auto industry is our past, and our future. The next generation of vehicles that families will drive all over the country and all over the world will be made in Ohio, by Ohio workers,"said Brown. "Ohio State, One Columbus, and Honda came to us with this project, and we worked together to secure the investment to make it happen. This is how we are burying the term 'Rust Belt.'"

"The announcement of Ohio State's new battery research center is yet another step in the right direction of academic excellence," Beatty said. "I'm proud to have helped secure federal funding to see this project into fruition and look forward to seeing this investment grow and flourish. This also continues to mark central Ohio as a pivotal workforce hub in America from the key technologies, economic impact, products, training and infrastructure this center will offer."

"I was proud to help secure federal funding for this new battery cell and research center at my alma mater," said Carey. "This investment will help ensure this new research center has a state-of-the-art facility to develop and assemble electric vehicle batteries right here in Ohio."

The federal funding will support a 4,000-square-foot dry room, which is necessary for the assembly of battery cells due to the extreme moisture sensitivity of cell components. The dry room and new battery cell assembly equipment will facilitate the accelerated development and translation of batteries from the lab to practical scales, including the electric vehicle market.

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