West Michigan poised for growth in advanced energy storage sector

What’s happening: A new report projects high potential for growth in West Michigan for advanced energy storage (AES) and material manufacturing production. The West Michigan Advanced Energy Storage Ecosystem Report was compiled by Lakeshore Advantage, The Right Place, and Greater Muskegon Economic Development to illustrate the region’s current assets and highlight its growth potential. 

What it is: The report categorizes the AES supply chain into six phases and illustrates that West Michigan is active in each. The supply chain starts with raw material sourcing, then moves through the refining/processing, cell assembly, pack assembly, end-use, and material recycling stages. The report says West Michigan has high growth potential in the cell and pack assembly stages, citing logistical advantages. 

Map shows battery manufacturing operations in West Michigan.

Why’s it important: Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently announced LT Precision Michigan LLC, a battery cooling plate supplier to electric vehicle manufacturers and subsidiary of Korea-based LT Precision Co., will establish its North American headquarters in Holland. 

"Michigan is a pivotal location for the automotive industry within the U.S.,” says LT Precision Michigan President Wonseok Yang. “As one of LG's partners and a provider for many different companies, we want to ensure that we provide stable supply and satisfaction to our clients by choosing Holland." 

How it works: AES end-use products include EV batteries, grid and stationary energy storage, and national defense applications. The report maps the AES landscape in West Michigan, where nearly two dozen businesses work with energy storage applications, products or services. 

Map shows top 10 states for battery manufacturing.

What they are saying: “We have already begun to see the benefits of having this report at our fingertips,” says Amanda Murray, vice president of business solutions for Lakeshore Advantage. “We met recently with a West Michigan chemical producer that was looking at entering the AES market and was considering locations outside the region. When we shared the report, they saw the possibilities here. It’s a tool we can use to show our businesses that West Michigan is a smart investment.” 

Who are the players: Anchors and innovators in West Michigan’s AES industry cluster include: 

• LG Energy Solution Michigan Inc.: Manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries to power EVs and other applications. 
• Gotion Inc.: Lithium-ion battery component manufacturing for mobility, appliances, equipment and industrial applications. 
• Volta Power Systems: Lithium-ion energy storage solutions for RV and specialty vehicle applications.
• Natron Energy: Novel sodium-ion technology battery manufacturer for uninterruptible power supply, data centers, and other industrial applications. 
• Jolt Energy: Research and development of all-organic redox flow, grid-scale energy storage solutions. 
• ATC Drivetrain: Battery remanufacture, repair, repurpose and recycling. 

How it applies to education: Additionally, the report details robust offerings by higher education institutions in West Michigan devoted to workforce development in this sector. Three state universities and two community colleges have programs for energy storage and related technologies. 

“Renewable energy is a rapidly growing and evolving field,” says Ferris State University President Bill Pink. “Ferris State is committed to partnering with industries across this sector to build a highly skilled workforce ready to meet industry demands in West Michigan and beyond, now and long into the future.” 

The group behind the report: The West Michigan Advanced Energy Storage Ecosystem Report was sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in collaboration with Lakeshore Advantage, The Right Place, Greater Muskegon Economic Development, Barry County Chamber and Economic Development Alliance, and the Middle Michigan Development Corporation. The report was produced by DISHER. 
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