A high-powered consortium that is proposing to build a battery storage gigafactory in Townsville in north Queensland says it is closer to choosing a site for the multi-billion dollar investment after meetings with the local council and state government officials.
The consortium is headed by Boston Energy and Innovation, a company led by former Macquarie Bank senior executive Bill Moss, and includes Eastman Kodak, Australian graphite producer Magnis Resources, and US battery storage production specialists C4V and C&D Assembly.
It is proposing to build a 15GWh battery storage manufacturing plant in Townsville – enough, it says, to produce storage for one million home battery units, for 300 micro-grids, or for 250,000 electric vehicles with a range of 400kms.
Over the last few weeks the consortium says it has identified a number of potential local council and state development sites and has received a high level of local and overseas interest for both the funding of the project and for offtake.
“The level of interest coming through for the Townsville Gigafactory is extraordinary,” Magnis chairman Frank Poullas said in a statement issued late on Friday.
“Being able to create a sustainable supply chain that bypasses the current major battery producing nations is something that really appeals to potential end users and investors.” Once the site is selected, the company says, a feasibility study will then be carried out.
BEI’s Moss has described the project as an opportunity for Australia to become a world leader in the manufacture of battery storage, as well as its deployment.
Moss says the consortium is committed to transforming Australia’s energy supply through the provision of cost-effective battery storage, and says the project could create 2,000 direct jobs in manufacturing and support 5,000 indirect jobs through supply chains.
Most of the same partners have also unveiled plans for a similar sized battery storage “gigafactory” in New York state, and announced on Monday that this would be located at the Huron campus, the home of IBM (pictured above).
Under that agreement, a new 15GWh lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant will make use of existing facilities and infrastructure in the state of New York and will target markets including electric vehicles, heavy electric vehicles, battery storage systems and replacing lead acid batteries.
“Today’s announcement shows the commitment of the consortium towards fast tracking the production of lithium-ion batteries,” Poullas said in a statement.
“There’s no doubt that there are many lithium-ion battery plants being currently built and speed to market is important to capture the advantages of the consortium’s materials and technologies.
“The recent announcements are the result of significant investment in time and effort over recent years by consortium members. The selection of the Huron site provides a springboard to further accelerate these efforts towards future battery production.”
Magnis will be responsible for supplying the anode materials and technologies for both plants, while the cathode materials and technologies, manufacturing processes to produce electrodes and the battery cells comprised of those electrodes will be handled by C4V, and by Eastman Kodak in Townsville and Primet Precision Materials in NY.
C&D Assembly with its state of the art electronics manufacturing facility located in Groton, New York, will provide the battery management systems and power harnessing.
BEI will assist with project structuring, capital raising and global expansion, and Moss says these plants will be the “first of a series of proposed lithium-ion battery manufacturing hubs globally.”