This China-free lithium battery plant can power the next 100 years

Australia has all the key critical minerals to power the next 100 years.
Deena Theresa
Conceptual image of an energy storage system.
Conceptual image of an energy storage system.

Petmal/iStock 

An Australian-based startup, Recharge Industries Pty, is planning to build a A$300 million (US$210 million) factory that can build lithium-ion batteries that do not have materials imported from China, Bloomberg reported.

Currently, China accounts for the majority of lithium-ion battery manufacturing facilities. Other nations are striving to seek alternatives to the Asian country.

Though Australia is the world's largest supplier of lithium, a vital battery metal, it currently sends most of its battery raw materials to be processed into components in China. Data compiled by BloombergNEF revealed that China has about 1,000 gigawatt-hours of cell manufacturing capacity, more than 80 percent of the world’s total.

The US, Australia, and India are looking at a green transition that enables them to expand domestic clean energy manufacturing capacity while simultaneously curbing their reliance on imports from China.

The Saudi Arabia of the new energy age

Recharge Industries Pty has eyed the site in Geelong, southeastern Australia, and aims to start construction in the second half of this year. In an interview, founder David A. Collard said production could begin by late 2024.

"Australia is the new Saudi Arabia of the new energy age," Collard, a former PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP partner, told Bloomberg. "We have all the key critical minerals to power the next 100 years."

The facility will have an initial annual capacity of two gigawatt-hours that can increase to a planned total of 30 gigawatt-hours. Collard also mentioned that the company has sales agreements with Indian energy storage projects.

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According to BloombergNEF data, Australia has a pipeline of 25.6 gigawatt-hours of battery production projects.

Lithium raw materials will not be sourced from China

The Australian company said their batteries would not use cobalt or nickel and also avoid imports from China. Lithium raw materials will be sourced from Australian and South American mines and utilize refined lithium from Australia and the US, Bloomberg reported.

In his interview, Collard said that he raised funding for Recharge through his hedge fund, Scale Facilitation, and backers, including Australian superannuation funds, asset managers, and strategic investors involved in the project.

After Phase 1, two subsequent Phases will see the production facility scale to 30GWh annually by 2028.

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