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“Niche player” to build a gigafactory in Australia

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 14:12 -- News Editor
“Niche player” to build a gigafactory in Australia

Australian company Energy Renaissance (ER) is to build a “specific and niche” lithium-ion battery gigafactory in Darwin, in the country’s Northern Territory, which will start production by late 2018.

Our niche focus is to build the world's best batteries for hot and humid climates,” said Brian Craighead, managing director of Energy Renaissance, in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). The battery storage systems will be designed for commercial and utility-scale uses in telecommunications, defence and government sectors, and target the Australian and South-East Asian markets.

ER said it has formed an exclusive partnership with an unnamed semi-solid lithium-ion specialist, backed by the resources of founding shareholder UGL Limited and the support of the Northern Territory Government.

The specialist whose patented technology ER is set to use is reportedly US firm 24M, which builds batteries to withstand harsher conditions. However, 24M declined BBB’s invitation to comment.

Craighead told ABC the planned gigafactory – named Renaissance One – would be a tight” and “niche” plan, that would be different to US firm Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory and LG Chem’s factories in South Korea.

We're a niche player,” Craighead said. “We are very interested in what Tesla do in Nevada and LG Chem do in Korea, we are still very impressed by them. We just could never get those large-scale residential places to work here.

According to ER, the factory will use Australian raw materials in their battery cells, which will be operated in seven production lines with an annual capacity of 1 GWh.

Craighead said the factory will be built by Australian company UGL Limited, with construction starting in April 2018.

The move follows Tesla’s announcement that it had been selected to build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in South Australia.