NY State and GE Partner for New Manufacturing Initiative

128px-General_Electric_logo.svgGovernor Andrew Cuomo and General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt announced that the state of New York is partnering with GE and other companies for a $500 million initiative to spur high-tech manufacturing of miniature electronics. The public-private partnership will be called the New York Power Electronics Manufacturing Consortium.

New York will invest $135 million for the program, which will be based at SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany. The remaining $365 million will come from GE and several other companies. Focus for the initiative will include the development of new, smaller semiconductors for computers and technology used in industries such as solar power, healthcare and aviation. According to Immelt, small, powerful semiconductors “are going to define the next 20 or 30 years globally. This is going to be at the hub of creating jobs and industries in the future.”

Zintro expert Michael Orshan is the executive director of a solar energy company. He says, “One of the most successful planned economic success stories is from the late 80’s in Austin, TX with the public private SEMATECH focused on next generation semiconductors. Soon IBM, Dell, Compaq, telecommunication companies and startups all began there, resulting in impressive economic growth. The NANO SEMATECH moved to Albany in the early 2000’s and this is an outgrowth of that effort. Can lightning strike twice?

“The promise of micro/nano devices, MEMs devices and nano structures is still evolving with more and more successes every year, but market penetration is still relatively small. Of course, there was a time that people laughed about installing high speed communications, and who is laughing now? I believe the focus will be on sensors, whether something monitoring a human body, a car, a home, office, or in the environment.

“Certainly, we are now paying for sensors in all these places more than before, and only through micro/nano, can costs become small and reasonable for this. I see this as a low risk and high reward opportunity. The car and transportation issue might be the lowest hanging fruit. Maybe the defense industry if funds there still exist.

“However, if nothing comes of this within 5 years than it will be a case of too much science and not enough real engineering. That will be the real test, can the engineers gain enough control to make this a real world project or will the scientists just use these funds and opportunity for hard science.”

Zintro expert Juzer Jangbarwala is a high level advisor for qualifying new technologies. He shares his opinion about the program. “Great initiative. They will hopefully not fall into the IP ownership trap and insist on NEW research only. There is vast amount of knowledge in nanomaterials that does not seem to be cross pollinating because everyone is trying to patent something new.

“For example, many types of graphitic carbon fibers can provide routes to materials with predictable armchair vs zigzag ratios in the graphene planes. Further research to isolate or selectively blind the required face for semi conducting can produce the desired high volume semiconducting materials.”

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