Australia’s first battery gigafactory on track for December launch
Australian lithium-ion battery manufacturer Energy Renaissance is on track to launch its ground-breaking “Renaissance One” gigafactory in New South Wales coal country, after successfully completing a pilot program.
Energy Renaissance’s pilot facility, dubbed Project Appollo, is up and running in Tomago and producing up to 4MWh of Australian-made batteries a month, with plans to eventually scale up to 5.3 gigawatt-hours of energy storage a year.
The success of the pilot project, which was backed the federal government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, means that Energy Renaissance has met its funding milestone, a crucial step towards the launch of its much larger facility in December.
The 4,500 square metre “Renaissance One” manufacturing plant, also at Tomago, will house more than 700 employees and initially produce up to 300MWh of batteries a year.
The aim is to offer safe, affordable and 100% Australian made lithium-ion batteries, optimised for hot climates, to satisfy rising domestic and export demand for commercial and industrial stationary storage. Currently, the batteries being produced at the Apollo pilot facility feature 92 per cent local content.
“Just a few years ago we were told it wasn’t possible to manufacture in Australia. Today, in the shadow of our soon-to-be-completed Renaissance One facility I can tell you that it is absolutely possible to manufacture in Australia,” said Energy Renaissance founder and development director, Brian Craighead, on Thursday.
“With the support of organisations such as AMGC and our partners, we have been able to develop a world-leading lithium-ion battery for domestic and export use and soon, we hope to expand the impact of this program to add value to Australia’s abundant raw materials by embarking on cell manufacture.”
Jens Goennemann, managing director of AMGC says Energy Renaissance is “proof positive” that Australia can be a world leader in the renewable energy industry.
“Energy Renaissance’s approach typifies how we should be seeking to move away from our reliance on raw commodities and tap into our abundant human, commodities and manufacturing prowess to transform it into complex goods for local and export markets,
“Energy Renaissance didn’t stop when they developed a battery for hot and humid climates, they embarked on commercialising the technology and we are pleased to have been there to assist them – they are a shining light for others to follow,” Goennemann said.
As RenewEconomy has reported, Energy Renaissance has been working on plans to build a battery gigawatt-scale factory in Australia since 2017, first looking to set up shop in Darwin, but ultimately landing in the Hunter Region of NSW, due to its easy access to the Port of Newcastle and its proximity to highly-skilled talent from CSIRO’s Energy Centre and graduates from the University of Newcastle.
The completion of the pilot-facility program follows up on an earlier AMGC co-invested project where ER and CSIRO first developed a proprietary battery system – a unique plug-and-play prismatic cell system combined with a CSIRO-developed, cyber secure battery management system.
The manufacture of lithium-ion batteries globally is increasing at an exponential rate, with supply expected to increase nearly seven-fold over the next decade from 1,000 GWh per annum in 2021 to around 6,700 GWh per annum in 2031, according to analysis by Britain’s Faraday Institution.