Messmer Report: Exciting additions at WestGate and Crane

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, June 8, 2012

An exciting announcement at the WestGate Technology Park at Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane is the Battery Innovation Center (BIC), a new non-profit initiative that will link battery manufacturers, government agencies, research labs, academia and Fortune 500 companies together to accelerate the battery market.

The BIC will leverage Indiana’s public and private sector assets in advanced battery technologies, creating a center of excellence that will provide testing and validation services to the industry, product development and technology support for government agencies including the Department of Defense (DoD), while also assisting universities with research and development for prototyping. New battery innovations will be brought to market as participating companies and institutions collaborate to advance battery technologies from discovery to production.

The BIC will involve a 40,000 square foot multi-million dollar facility at the WestGate at Crane Technology Park, in Greene County. The site is adjacent to NSWC Crane, the Department of Defense center of excellence in battery development and power electronics. The Greene County Council has approved $15.6 million in economic development bonds to support the construction of the facility.

While this facility will serve as the physical "hub" for the BIC's activities, it will also leverage virtual connections to its many partners' research facilities and resources across the state and beyond. While waiting for the WestGate facility to come online, BIC leadership will continue to raise funds, recruit partners and use this virtual network to conduct some early project selection. BIC's access to its partners' research assets – including NSWC Crane – will greatly advance the work that will ultimately be undertaken by the new BIC facility.

A second announcement was made at the end of the week that NSWC Crane will also be adding a $13 million Strategic Weapons Systems Engineering Facility. The new facility will consolidate all of the resources and technical assets supporting trusted, high reliability microelectronics into a single state-of-the-art complex.

The complex will hold a variety of labs for engineering and testing, as well as conference rooms, logistics support areas, mechanical areas and offices. There are also other facilities being created around Crane.

In addition to the 18 current businesses operating in the Tech Park, the 64,000 square foot Academy Building is currently under construction. The Academy will include a 600 person conference center, 37 classrooms, two smaller conference rooms, the WestGate Director’s office and space for an incubator/technology transfer center. I look forward to the many more groundbreaking announcements that are expected this year as the WestGate Tech Park continues to grow; which will also add jobs to our local communities. We are well on the way to a steady economic recovery.