Battery research hub shortlisted for CRC Program
Six applicants have been shortlisted to deliver new industry-focused research under the federal government’s $731 million Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program — among them, a national consortium vying to lead a $100 million Future Battery Industries CRC.
In conjunction with a range of Western Australian industry and education partners, Curtin University is leading the bid for a new CRC with the aim of connecting world-class researchers and industry to develop the processes and battery applications to make the most of Australia’s abundant new energy materials.
Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Chris Moran said the Future Battery Industries CRC would provide national leadership to harness new energy materials, including lithium, vanadium, nickel, cobalt and graphite, for the future of energy storage.
“The Future Battery Industries CRC is seeking to position Australia as a globally competitive provider of the energy solutions of the future by leveraging the country’s natural resources and internationally recognised research skills,” Prof Moran said.
“The proposal joins industry, government and researchers to solve the grand challenges for a future where Australia is a leader in the manufacture of the next generation of battery energy storage technologies and systems. The Future Battery Industries CRC will also provide important research opportunities for postgraduate students seeking to play a role in this significant initiative.”
Bid Chair Tim Shanahan said the proposal was responding to industry calls for Australia to act within the next five years or risk losing the opportunity to overseas competitors.
“The industry is telling us that there is an urgent need for Australia to take the lead in this next phase of our energy future and the Future Battery Industries CRC works to ensure we position ourselves as the global leader in low-cost, high-quality, technically superior battery materials and technologies,” Shanahan said.
“The project will help guide the future of the energy industry by mapping out the pathway for Australia to mine, extract, refine and recycle battery minerals, metals and materials with the required quality controls, as well as completing the value chain through the manufacture, deployment and use of batteries.”
The Western Australian Government seeded the bid with a combined $6 million in provisional funding to support to establishment of the proposed Future Battery Industries CRC in WA. Having now passed the first stage of assessment, the consortium is invited to submit a second-stage application, which involves developing a business case and attending an interview with the CRC Advisory Committee.
Successful applicants must contribute at least the same amount in cash or in-kind contributions as they receive in government funding. At the expressions of interest phase, the national consortium had raised about $27 million towards the bid, and it is seeking $25 million from the federal government through the CRC application process.
The federal government is expected to announce the successful recipients early next year, with funding to commence by mid-2019.
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