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On 3 September 2020, we were pleased to present an online event with the Government of Western Australia European Office and the Australian Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FBICRC) on the battery value chain from Australia to Germany.
Elisabeth Opie, Deputy Board Chair, German Australian Business Council welcomed all participants and Mike Deeks, Western Australian Agent General UK, Europe and Israel set the context with an overview of the Western Australian critical raw minerals ecosystem and the government’s strategy and support for businesses looking to invest and trade with Western Australia. This was followed by four leading Australian and European speakers across research and industry providing different perspectives across the battery value chain.
Dr Jacques Eksteen, FBICRC Chief Operating Officer and Research Director kicked off with an overview of Western Australia’s battery minerals industry which has been rapidly transitioning from an exporter of mineral concentrates to a producer of battery chemicals such as lithium hydroxide and nickel sulphate. The FBICRC has also been establishing research relationships with German research institutes such as the Fraunhofer and Helmholtz.
Dr Jeffrey Wilson, Perth USAsia Centre Research Director then spoke about the governance of the extremely complex battery value chain, which is insecure and faces major challenges for social and environmental sustainability. Australia is well placed as a secure and sustainable battery partner though it needs to move along the value chain towards mid-stream activities and build greater resilience by focusing on processing technologies and connecting with broader energy transition plans and international partners.
Our first industry speaker, Samantha McGahan, Australian Vanadium (AVL)/VSUN Energy Business Development Manager shared about AVL’s Gabanintha project, which has been awarded Major Project Status by the Australian Federal Government and Lead Agency Status by the Western Australian State Government and its proven capability to produce high-purity V2O5 for vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFB) and production of electrolytes. Its dedicated subsidiary VSUN Energy was set up in 2016 to grow the VRFB market in Australia.
Benoit Lemaignan, Verkor Co-Founder and CEO then introduced Verkor’s first Gigafactory, supported by EIT InnoEnergy, Schneider Electric, and GROUPE IDEC, which is scheduled to begin in 2023 with a capacity of 16GWh of battery cells and set to increase to 50GWh.
Thank you to all partners, speakers and participants for joining us.
For those who missed the session, the full video recording can be accessed Here
Recording access code: P6CVB=$q