Report identifies Australian battery manufacturing potential

Prof Peter Talbot

A 2020 report by QUT’s Adjunct Professor Peter Talbot has identified how Australia can transition into a major processing, manufacturing and trading hub for battery precursors.

Adjunct Professor Talbot, who established QUT’s Advanced Battery Facility (ABF), the first lithium-ion battery pilot manufacturing facility in Australia, produced the report ‘Li-ion battery cathode manufacture in Australia demonstrates that establishing a battery manufacturing facility in WA is technically and commercially feasible”.

“Australia currently produces nine of the 10 mineral elements required to produce most lithium-ion battery anodes and cathodes, and has commercial reserves of graphite – the remaining element,” Adjunct Professor Talbot said.

“Accelerating global demand presents Australia with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transition into a major processing, manufacturing and trading hub if an adequate business case can be built.

“Critical components in advanced battery production — precursor, anode, cathode, electrolyte — can be manufactured in Australia. Battery manufacturing technology central to downstream lithium processing therefore stands as the critical gap in the Australian supply chain.”

The global lithium-ion battery market is projected to reach around $136 billion by 2030.

As identified in this report, and the WA Future Battery Industry Strategy, the next step to add value to Australia’s supply chain is to move into cathode precursor and cathode active production.

The report found that the Future Batteries Industry Cooperative Research Centre’s (FBI CRC) Cathode Precursor Pilot Plant can be built at CSIRO’s Waterford facilities in Western Australia.  The pilot plant will provide critical technical knowledge of how to build an industrial scale plant in WA.

The report was commissioned by the FBICRC and undertaken by Queensland University of Technology, with support from Hatch Engineering and Curtin University. Adjunct Professor Talbot’s ground-breaking work is continuing in 2021 at the National Battery Testing Centre (NBTC.)

To view the report, visit the FBI CRC publications site.

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