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15 GWh Li-ion battery plant investigated for Australia

30 June 2017

A consortium led by Boston Energy and Innovation (BEI) has signed an exclusive memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Townsville, Australia City Council to investigate the financial viability of building a 15GWh battery manufacturing plant in Townsville.

Once in full production the 15GWh manufacturing facility can produce either 250,000 car batteries per annum (up to 400 km range) or one million home battery units or support 300 microgrids to power small towns.

The BEI consortium includes Magnis Resources Limited; Eastman Kodak Company; C4V incorporated; and C&D Assembly Incorporated.

  • Magnis Resources will provide anode materials and technologies using its high-quality graphite.

  • Eastman Kodak and C4V, a knowledge company possessing critical insight related to optimum performance of lithium ion batteries, will provide the cathode material and manufacturing expertise.

  • C&D Assembly, Inc. will provide the Lithium-ion battery management systems.

June 30, 2017 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (7)


Australia's annual electric generation is about 252 terawatt hours, or an average of about 29 GW.

If they started fully charged, 15 GWh of batteries would run Australia's electric grid for roughly 30 minutes.  This talk about "microgrids" and "home storage" is a joke.

Actually, retail electricity prices in Australia are so high (> 30 cents/KWhr) that PV+battery storage makes financial sense in many parts of the country. 6 KW PV + Powerwall 2 costs around $16K fully installed. The battery system is 10K$ of that. Although the payback is marginal, many people are so sick of the electricity retailers they're already willing to pay. A further 30% reduction in a 14 KWhr battery would see large scale adoption in the home storage market and even greater PV penetration. Over 15% of households have some PV installed already.

How much of that retail price is due to wind power being forced into the market at cost-plus?

Some but not that much (maybe 3-4 cents out of the 30 cents). It's mostly rent-seekers taking advantage of poor government market models. Self generation and local storage is about the only way consumers can push back against them.

E-P, a battery is not single-use.

If this one factory produces 1 million home batteries per year, then in less than10 years, this one factory can deliver a home battery to every household in australia !

This is much more than a joke !

Combined with cheap solar and smart grid, this will make the energy transission cheap and easy.

a battery is not single-use.

Ambiguous term.  A battery is devoted to a single purpose, with all other purposes subordinated.  You're either using it in a vehicle to provide motive power, or using it at a fixed site to provide other services.  Fixed uses could be as load-levelling or as backup (kept fully charged).  Neither is a good use for a vehicle traction battery; however, vehicles can provide regulation services with little impact to their primary use.

If this one factory produces 1 million home batteries per year, then in less than10 years, this one factory can deliver a home battery to every household in australia !

And these home batteries would provide about 5 hours of backup for the average grid load.  They would fall far short of carrying an all-RE grid through an overnight lack of solar and wind power, let alone a prolonged period of low wind and sun.

This is the problem with the likes of you and SJC.  You won't or can't think quantitatively.  You wave your hands and decide a problem has been solved, when you have no idea how big it is.  When someone tries to get you to do the work to gain true understanding, you get offended.

Combined with cheap solar and smart grid, this will make the energy transission cheap and easy.

Not easy, and there's not one mention of cost in the article so you cannot conclude it will be cheap either.  Tesla PowerPacks are running over US$400/kWh.  If this plant made 1 million home batteries per year at 15 kWh apiece, they would cost over US$6000 apiece before the price of electronics and installation.  That's around AUD$8000 right now.

A battery to carry the average household's local and industrial/business load over a day would be on the order of 5x as big and cost OTOO AUD$40000.  An all-RE grid would require at least several days of storage.  Does the average Australian household have AUD$200000 to spare... with full replacement every 20 years or so?  Color me doubtful.

Note that devoting all the battery production to home/grid backups means none for electric vehicles.  That's extra.

When you do calculations like this before making claims, you will have finally matured.

As more and more REs are mixed-used on the power grids, demand will have to better managed. Today's digital remote controlled meters can be used to automatically better manage e-energy loads by:

1) temporarily/timely disconnect selected non-essential loads such as hot water heaters, dryers, dish washers, EV chargers etc and/

2) temporarily lower residence heating and A/C.

3) temporarily return (some) energy from charged PHEVs, BEVs and FCEVs to the grid.

4) use FCEVs or hybrids with FCs for extended range vehicles to reduce e-energy for transportation.

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