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Australia's first lithium-ion giga factory completes pilot program

File photo of Energy Renaissance's Renaissance One Giga Factory in Tomago, NSW.

Australia's first lithium-ion battery giga factory has inched closer to commercial operations with the successful completion of advanced manufacturing pilot program in Tomago, New South Wales.

The Australian company, Energy Renaissance's (ER) pilot program developed and tested manufacturing processes, systems and plant design before commissioning its full-scale manufacturing facility. The company claims its lithium-ion batteries feature over 90% local content and have been designed specifically for high-temperature and humidity environments.

The pilot program, dubbed Project 'Apollo', is backed by the Australian Government's industry-led non-profit, Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) and produces up to 4MWh of batteries per month through ER's 'Apollo' manufacturing facility in Tomago.

"Just a few years ago we were told it wasn't possible to manufacture in Australia. Today, in the shadow of our soon-to-be-completed Renaissance One facility I can tell you that it is absolutely possible to manufacture in Australia," said Brian Craighead, Development Director and Founder of Energy Renaissance.

"With the support of organizations such as AMGC and our partners, we have been able to develop a world-leading lithium-ion battery for domestic and export use and soon, we hope to expand the impact of this program to add value to Australia's abundant raw materials by embarking on cell manufacture," Craighead added.

The completion of the pilot-facility program follows an earlier AMGC co-invested project where ER and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) first developed a proprietary battery system (superRack and superPack), which are plug-and-play prismatic cell system. This is combined with the Renaissance BMS, which is a CSIRO-developed cyber-secure battery management system comprising custom circuit boards, software, and wiring -- giving ER a competitive advantage in the global battery market.

The successful completion of the pilot program will be a crucial step in ER's scale-up plan before it moves into 4,500 sq.m. Renaissance One manufacturing facility at Tomago, NSW. The facility is said to initially produce up to 300 MWh of energy storage annually, scaling to 5.3 GWh or 5.3 billion watts, of energy storage per year through its battery system.

"Energy Renaissance is proof positive that Australia can be a world leader in the renewable energy industry. Energy Renaissance's approach typifies how we should be seeking to move away from our reliance on raw commodities and tap into our abundant human, commodities and manufacturing prowess to transform it into complex goods for local and export markets," said Dr. Jens Goennemann, Managing Director of AMGC.

According to AMGC, the collaborative project, worth $1.47 million was supported through a $525,072 co-investment administered by AMGC and matched by Energy Renaissance, with project partners contributing a further $427,681. Project participants include CSIRO, ATB Morton, and Maccor.

Author : Shraddha Kakade
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