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Funding secured for local battery production

Hot-climate battery manufacturing to bring up to 1300 new jobs to Australia

3 Aug 2020

THE Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) has announced funding towards a project that aims to establish the manufacture of hot-climate lithium-ion batteries for use both in Australia and South-East Asia.


Awarded to Australia’s first utility-scale lithium-ion battery producer Energy Renaissance, the grant sees a contribution of $246,625 each from AMGC and Energy Renaissance, which will accelerate research and development while helping to advance the country’s lithium-ion battery materials industry.


Energy Renaissance will work with the CSIRO in the research stage, and its partners Cadenza Innovation and Wuxi LEAD to help redesign components currently used by Energy Renaissance to for its battery energy storage systems.


The funding will also be used to design a streamlined production line that includes robotics and automated quality control for a more efficient manufacturing process.


Once its facilities are operational at full capacity, the company will be able to employ around 1300 workers while contributing an estimated $3 billion per year to the local GDP.


The factory will produce batteries for use in a wide variety of applications such as solar farms, defence assets, mine sites, utilities and commercial and industrial applications.


The batteries will also be used in automotive applications, on special-purpose craft such as electric mining and airport transport vehicles, and for battery cells used in EV charging networks.

It also claims that for every new employee hired, it would create up to five jobs in upstream industries such as mining.


Around 60 per cent of batteries built will be exported to markets in South-East Asia, while the rest will be used for Australian components.


Energy Renaissance will announce the location for its manufacturing facility in the second half of the year, and will leverage Australia’s abundant amounts of lithium, with 20 per cent of the world’s reserves and the lowest cost of production.


Australia is also the only country in the world that has all the components required for lithium-ion battery production, with lithium carbonate currently manufactured in Perth and the Northern Territory, and battery-grade graphite concentrate produced in South Australia.


Minerals such as copper, cobalt, nickel, aluminium and manganese are currently mined in Australia but sent overseas for processing, however once demand for Australian lithium-ion battery manufacturers is sufficient, the minerals will instead be processed locally.


The AMGC hopes that such a watershed moment would significantly reduce input costs and therefore transform Australia into a manufacturing powerhouse for the batteries using local commodities.


Energy Renaissance’s modelling suggests market demand for battery orders to increase from 200MWh in 2019-20, up to 712MWh in 2020-21 and 984MWh in 2021-22.


Energy Renaissance managing director Mark Chilcote said the potential for Australian manufacturing could provide a significant help in the post-COVID-19 economic recovery.


“The cleantech manufacturing industry has the potential to lead Australia’s economic recovery post-COVID-19,” he said.


“By partnering with AMGC, Energy Renaissance will advance local battery manufacturing capabilities, create jobs in Australia and build significant economic benefits for our lithium-ion battery materials industry through a local supply chain.”


AMGC managing director Jens Goennemann said Australia’s abundant natural resources could provide a springboard for the country in leading global energy transition.


“Australia has an opportunity to lead the world when it comes to energy transition while adding value to our abundant natural resources,” he said.


“It was this ability we identified some time ago with Energy Renaissance and its manufacturing aspirations.


“Energy Renaissance’s hot-climate battery technology has numerous applications across multiple sectors including energy, defence, commercial and industrial – both domestically and abroad.


“They are an example of how Australia’s advanced manufacturing industry is developing world-leading solutions.”

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