OIT partners with Powin Energy on battery testing
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
This portable outdoor battery is one of Powin Energy's products.
Powin Energy will provide lithium ion battery testing equipment to Oregon Institute of Technology's Wilsonville campus for use by students at the school's Renewable Energy Engineering program.
In exchange, Powin Energy, a subsidiary of Tualatin-based Powin Corp. (OT QB: PWON), will get student help testing its batteries.
"When you sell lithium ion batteries you have to do a lot of testing," said Virgil Beaston, chief technology officer at Powin Energy.
With limited time and manpower, Beaston said it just made sense to give the battery testing equipment to OIT — about $40,000 worth — and have the students do the testing as part of their research. The company will also hire OIT students as interns.
"Oregon has a lot of very talented people in battery technology, they're going to be in high demand," Beaston said.
OIT, which is in the process of branding itself to be known as Oregon Tech, has a heavy focus on industry partnerships in its renewable energy program, which is adding a Master's degree this year.
"This partnership will provide more applied research alongside the testing equipment," said Lita Coligan, associate vice president for strategic partnerships at OIT.
Solobodan Petrovic, associate professor specializing in electrical energy storage, called the Powin partnership a perfect combination.
"We get to create state-of-the-art facilities for industrial testing for Powin and, in the future, for others," Petrovic said. "And students get to publish the results which will give them exposure."
Powin Energy launched in 2011, is focusing its business on battery technology.
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