Johnson Controls funds energy storage research at universities

Johnson Controls Inc. will team up with two University of Wisconsin campuses to create an energy storage research program.
The $34.3 billion Glendale-based energy company has established an endowed professorship in energy storage research and will also sponsor graduate student fellowships and fund three laboratories to house the program.
The professor will have offices at both University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and University of Wisconsin-Madison, giving lectures as well as conducting hands-on work with students in the labs.
Johnson Controls has already donated a $2.5 million materials research laboratory at UW-Milwaukee, which was opened in February, said Mary Ann Wright, vice president of global technology and innovation for Johnson Controls Power Solutions. A dry room lab will be opened in November at UWM and another research lab will be included in the new Wisconsin Energy Institute being built at UW-Madison.
The dry lab would be the first of its kind at a U.S. university, Wright said at an event to announce the partnership Thursday.
The amount of the professorship investment has not been disclosed, but the position will continue in perpetuity, said Rebecca Fitzgerald, global communications director for power solutions at Johnson Controls.
Building relationships with the academic research community will help make Johnson Controls an international leader in energy storage devices and batteries, Wright said.
“The battery has really become the heart of the vehicle,” she said.
Moving discovery to application and sales is an important part of research, said Paul DeLuca, UW-Madison provost. In this way, Johnson Controls and its UW partners can harness energy storage technology to benefit the community.
Gov. Scott Walker credited Johnson Controls with investing in the future of Wisconsin’s economy at the event.
“Johnson Controls is No. 1 in terms of corporate citizenship—not only here, but across the country,” Walker said. “This targeted investment will ultimately help us with jobs.”

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