Future Battery Industries CRC coming to WA

Friday, 12 April, 2019

Future Battery Industries CRC coming to WA

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews has announced the government’s support for the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) — an initiative that will help tackle industry-identified gaps in the battery industries value chain, support battery deployment and optimise the circular economy for battery waste recycling.

A national consortium of 58 industry, government and research partners, led by WA’s Curtin University, led the bid to establish the $135 million CRC. It will focus on three research programs where industry, government and researchers have joined together: battery industry development; the processing of minerals; metals and materials for batteries; and the development of a new battery storage system.

Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Chris Moran said the news will ensure Australia capitalises 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,” Prof 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 Tim Shanahan said the consortium has a six-year plan to address industry-identified gaps in the battery industries value chain.

“The national consortium ... 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,” 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.

“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 CRC will fund 40 PhD students and undertake an education and training program with activities that will assist in building a workforce to support Australia’s future battery industries. A vocational education and training sector engagement program will also be conducted and small and medium enterprise workshops will be held to enhance business capabilities and competitiveness.

The Australian Government has committed $25 million to support the development of the Future Battery Industries CRC, to be paid over six years, while participants in the CRC will contribute more than $110 million in cash and in kind. The WA Government seeded the bid with a combined $6 million in provisional funding to support to establishment of the CRC in Perth.

Image credit: ©iStockphoto.com/design56

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