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Australia’s first lithium-ion gigafactory plans move closer to realisation with temporary plant

Thu, 03/11/2021 - 10:02 -- Paul Crompton

Australian gigafactory hopeful Energy Renaissance is set to begin producing its lithium-ion cells in June— with plans to build batteries at its purpose made 66MWh Renaissance One plant in October.

The firm will begin manufacturing its proprietary superStorage™ battery systems out of a temporary facility before moving to the purpose-built 4,500sqm facility in Tomago, New South Wales, following five years of research and development.

Construction of Renaissance One is due to start in April with the full-scale manufacturing of batteries expected in October.

Energy Renaissance’s batteries will be marketed toward stationary and mobile applications.

Last October, BEST reported Energy Renaissance was to build its AUS$28 million ($20 million) manufacturing plant in New South Wales, with plans to scale up operations to 5.3GWh with an additional investment of more than $200 million.

A battery making facility makes sense as Australia is sitting on all the raw materials needed to make lithium-ion batteries. There is no commercial production of battery-grade materials and chemicals in Australia.

On 24 February, the US announced it would prioritise the domestic consumption and production of critical and rare earth minerals.

Mark Chilcote, managing director of Energy Renaissance said: “Australia cannot afford to be at the end of a queue for these minerals.

“But we will change this in the very near future when we commence production of our batteries. We will be able to engage with suppliers of Australian nickel, cobalt, manganese, graphite, lithium, aluminium and copper and to use their materials in our batteries.”

It is expected that Energy Renaissance’s commitment to manufacturing batteries will provide a pathway for battery raw material processing to take place in Australia, which could reduce the cost of materials.

Image: from left: Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, senator Hollly Hughes, minister Karen Andrews, Energy Renaissance managing director Mark Chilcote

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