Tomago to host one of Australia’s first lithium ion battery factories

Michael Mazengarb
20 July 2021
(Renew Economy)

 

The New South Wales industrial hub of Tomago will soon be host to one of Australia’s first dedicated lithium ion battery production facilities, with Energy Renaissance confirming it will establish a pilot factory in the town.

Through the $1.48 million project, Energy Renaissance will establish a pilot lithium ion manufacturing facilities in Tomago in New South Wales, that will produce the superStorage lithium ion batteries developed by the company.

Energy Renaissance will establish a fully automated pilot manufacturing line at a 2,700 square metre facility. It said the project would undertake rapid testing of products produced at the pilot plant, the creation of a scalable manufacturing line and support the training of a workforce that could ultimately be deployed at a full-scale manufacturing facility that is currently under construction, also in Tomago.

The full-scale facility, dubbed Renaissance One, will be a permanent and purpose site, covering 4,400 square metres, and will be one of Australia’s first commercial scale lithium ion battery factories.

The battery products being developed by Energy Renaissance will target a range of storage applications, including large scale grid storage, off grid and remote sites, as well as use in electric transport. The company has also partnered with the CSIRO to develop a battery management system suitable for military applications.

The project will be supported by a $525,072 grant awarded by the federal government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC), which will allow the company to complete the pilot manufacturing facility. Energy Renaissance will co-fund the pilot factory with in-kind and additional financial contributions.

“AMGC has played a strategic role by supporting Energy Renaissance with a seed funding round last year that went towards the design and prototyping of our superStorage battery,” Energy Renaissance’s technology and development director, Brian Craighead, said.

“The new funding injection from AMGC will now help us to scale-up towards commercial production and accelerate our ability to manufacture batteries faster. This is a win for Australia, our economy and workforce as we ascend the stage to become a global battery manufacturing powerhouse.”

Energy Renaissance said the project would be a very early demonstration of Australia’s ability to manufacture lithium ion batteries locally, which could ultimately tap into surging local and international demand for battery technologies.

AMGC’s Managing Director, Dr Jens Goennemann, said that the work being undertaken by Energy Renaissance was an important step towards Australia seizing some of the significant opportunities being created through surging global demand for battery technologies.

“Australia relies heavily on imported batteries, a reliance Energy Renaissance is committed to changing. By investing in local manufacturing, upskilling a new workforce for manufacturing and developing an innovative battery solution, Energy Renaissance will showcase how Australia can and will have a global competitive edge in battery manufacturing,” Goennemann said.

The company had previously secured a smaller grant, also from the AMGC, which the company has used towards its ultimate plan of establishing a ‘gigawatt’ scale battery production facility in the Hunter Region.

Michael Mazengarb is a journalist with RenewEconomy, based in Sydney. Before joining RenewEconomy, Michael worked in the renewable energy sector for more than a decade.

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