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WA home to $135 million national battery research hub

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

Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews, announced today 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 $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 national consortium of 58 industry, academic and government partners aims to co-create the tools and technologies needed to ensure Australia is leading the way in the battery revolution from mining and processing to manufacture and deployment in households, communities and industry, and in the recycling of batteries,” Mr Shanahan said.

“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.

“Given Australia’s abundant resources of battery minerals and world-class resources sector, the potential to promote the nation’s premium-quality, ethically sourced and safe battery minerals and metals through forensic-accredited and traceable sources will also be investigated, paving the way for Australia to position itself as a global leader in the international battery value chain.”

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

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

Led by Curtin University, the Future Battery Industries CRC is supported by Multicom Resources, Galaxy Resources, Protean Energy, Tianqi Lithium, BHP Nickel West, IGO, HEC Group, Syrah Resources, Clean TeQ, Stealth Technologies, Lava Blue, Kibaran Resources, Pilbara Metals Group, BOC Limited Proxa Australia, Yurika, Switch Batteries, Volt Resources, FYI Resources, Lynas Corporation, Magellan Power, Cobalt Blue, Energetics, Envirostream, Mining and Process Solutions, MRI (Australia), Total Green Recycling, RaptorTech, Synergy, EQL, Josh Byrne and Associates, Australian Vanadium, Gemtek Group, MRIWA, DST Group, DNRME, Department of Energy and Mining, GEDC, City of Kwinana, Chemistry Centre of WA, Everledger, Climate KIC, CMEWA, South Metropolitan TAFE, Dassault Systemes, The University of Western Australia, Queensland University of Technology, University of Melbourne, Murdoch University, University of Adelaide, University of Technology Sydney, CSIRO, Live-in Learning, OCI Company, GNS, Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources and CSIR-Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology.

Exports of lithium, just one of Australia’s energy materials, have risen from $117 million in 2012 to $780 million in 2017, and are expected to rise to $1.1 billion by 2020.

For more information about the Future Battery Industries CRC, visit here.

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