Energy Source & Distribution spends five minutes with Gelion CEO Hannah McCaughey.
Hannah, please tell us a bit about yourself personally and professionally:
My first job was in East Timor working on the constitution and it was hard to do the work because there were constant interruptions due to power outages. I learned about the importance of electricity when it wasn’t there all the time. Ever since, I have been passionate about working to provide clean and secure green energy for our societies and for global progress. I went to live in the UK for 17 years, first working at innovative clean energy merchant banks and going on to work at the UK’s largest vertically integrated energy company to provide green energy to 21 million customers. Ultimately, I decided to come back home to Australia because of the cutting-edge development around the energy transition and to allow my English children to experience the great Australian landscape while their grandparents are still alive.
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You’ve recently taken the helm at Gelion as CEO. What drew you to the role?
I fundamentally believe in Gelion’s breakthrough technology. As a provider of renewable energy storage, Gelion stands out given its safety, cost-effectiveness, differentiated operating characteristics and global scalability. For most of my career, I have been actively looking for energy storage technologies and I believe that Gelion is poised to capture critical market trends and will be a critical part of the energy transition. We are ready to prove that you can bring new, clean technology to market quickly using current industrial processes and grow to be a sizeable global player helping economies hit their net-zero targets by 2030.
It’s an exciting time for the company, having just listed on the London Stock Exchange. How has this changed things,
if at all, at Gelion?
With the successful IPO in November last year, we are now focused on taking our breakthrough technology into manufacturing scale-up and commercialisation. Since our listing, the energy market dynamics have only shifted in Gelion’s favour with even greater demand for energy storage and more recognition of the need to have battery raw material diversity from lithium.
Gelion has secured some major deals with the likes of Mayur Renewables and Acciona Energía recently. Are there any other projects in the works that you can share?
We are progressing our deployment with Acciona Energía and are very pleased to be working with them. We are still aiming to have product on test this year and any results would emerge sometime next year. This partnership is a great example of our wider strategy to expand relationships with commercial partners. During the coming period we expect to engage with other commercial partners to deploy our battery technology. Watch this space.
What are the main challenges for the battery energy storage sector at the moment?
The main challenge we face is the huge demand for product as the world accelerates away from fossil fuels towards renewables. As stated recently by the chairman of a lithium supplier, “there simply isn’t enough lithium on the face of the planet” to meet the demand. As the renewable sector realises that energy storage needs new platforms, we expect to work with a growing range of partners to meet that demand. That will require a massive scale-up, hitting technological milestones, overcoming international transport constraints and adapting successfully to different market regulations.
What are some of the biggest highlights of the job, for you?
Working with our incredibly talented team of people is a daily highlight—we have such a diverse range of expertise and backgrounds across our business. For instance, we have more than 15 different nationalisties represented across our scientific, engineering and operational teams. We are united in our purpose—to provide commercial energy storage solutions that contribute to human well-being, power the world and protect our planet. We really do live this every day, which is so inspiring. It is also very exciting to be working with new customers and see our technology coming to life in the commercial world.
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What do you do when you’re not working?
I do a lot with our local surf club Bronte Life Saving Club where my kids are both doing nippers. It is amazing to be in the beautiful ocean and also be a part of this incredible community spirit where people volunteer to make the beach a better, safer place. It also acts as a daily reminder as to why it is so important to bring about technology breakthroughs that can address climate change and keep our precious natural environment in one piece.