Western Australia will host a national consortium to position Australia as a global leader in the manufacture and supply of batteries after a AU$135 million industry-backed research hub was supported by the Australian Federal Government.

Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews, announced that the Curtin University-led national collaboration of 58 industry, government and research partners had been successful in its bid to establish the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (CRC).

Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Chris Moran said the major announcement would ensure Australia capitalised on the significant opportunities presented by the battery boom.

“The world is transitioning to electricity systems powered by renewable energy and the global use of energy materials is booming, driven by the rising demand for batteries to store this power,” Professor Moran said.

“The Future Battery Industries CRC will address the existing gaps in the nation’s capacity to respond to this growth industry by creating opportunities to process, manufacture and deploy batteries, delivering an estimated AU$2.5 billion benefit to the Australian economy over the next 15 years.

“This national consortium will also offer evidence-based advice to inform the development of government policies, rules and regulations to help guide the rapid transformation of energy systems driven by the expansion of renewables all over the world.”

Future Battery Industries CRC Chair Mr Tim Shanahan said the consortium had a six-year plan to address industry-identified gaps in the battery industries value chain.

“The Future Battery Industries CRC will investigate opportunities for greater efficiencies in the extraction and refinement of battery minerals, including facilitating the steps beyond mining and concentrate production to cathode production and the manufacture and testing of battery components and systems,” said Mr Shanahan.

The Australian Government has committed AU$25 million to support the development of the Future Battery Industries CRC, following a AU$28 million commitment from industry, government and research partners.

The Western Australian State Government seeded the bid with a combined AU$6 million in provisional funding to support to establishment of the Future Battery Industries CRC in Perth, Western Australia.

*Article published in the July-September 2019 issue of The Asia Miner