Federal Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews launched the Future Battery Industry Cooperative Research Centre (FBICRC) at the CSIRO in Waterford on Friday. Ms Andrews said the CRC program was a proven model of industry and research co-operation that produced impressive commercial results.
FBICRC Chief Executive Officer Stedman Ellis said this is a significant milestone for the CRC, marking the end of the establishment phase, and creating the foundation for program and project development. The FBICRC has secured significant cash and in-kind support with 48 participants, which in turn will unlock State and Federal government funding of $31 million over the next five years.
The Curtin University headquartered centre will focus on three areas: minerals processing and recycling to help upstream producers move down the batter value chain; battery testing, manufacture and deployment; and exploring policy settings and industry initiatives that could promote the growth of the industry.
The Minister, directors and staff of FBICRC, CRC Association CEO Tony Peacock and representatives of some participants, toured a pilot plan facility which will be repurposed to produce cathode precursor – the next stage of the battery value chain beyond the current processing plants being developed in WA: lithium hydroxide plants being developed by Tianqi and Albemarle and a nickel sulphate plant being develop by BHP.
Australia produces nine of the 10 elements required for most lithium-ion battery anodes and cathodes, and has commercial reserves of graphite, the other remaining element. The CRC brings together the nickel, lithium, cobalt, manganese and graphite producers which have shared interests in developing the chemistries needed for battery cell makers.
Pictured: Minister Karen Andrews (second from right) at the launch of the FBICRC with Board members Mark Woffenden, Graeme Hunt, Sarah Ryan and FBICRC Board Chair Tim Shanahan.