Australia’s first commercial-scale vanadium battery facility

Heavy equipment mining Vanadium (universities)
Vanadium mining (Image: Shutterstock)

The $26 million Townsville Vanadium Battery Manufacturing Facility will be Australia’s first commercial-scale vanadium flow battery electrolyte manufacturing facility.

Vecco Group’s new facility will produce the electrolyte used in grid-scale vanadium flow batteries—a type of battery leading the energy storage revolution.

Related article: Vanadium to be ‘workhorse’ of battery/renewables sector

The Palaszczuk Government is supporting the construction of the facility through its Industry Partnership Program. The project is part of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, which includes creating a North Queensland battery industry supply chain.

The new vanadium battery electrolyte production facility will support the development of Vecco’s Debella Critical Minerals Mine. It will also lead to downstream manufacturing and creating a new link in the supply chain.

The Townsville Vanadium Battery Manufacturing Facility is expected to begin production later this year. When operational, it will employ 21 people and produce nine megalitres of electrolyte annually, equating to an energy storage capacity of 175MWh annually with plans to  expand to 350MWh.

Vanadium flow batteries are a proven grid-scale energy storage solution with advantages including a long lifespan, lengthy storage capability and are non-flammable.

The government’s $75 million investment in the Queensland Resources Common User Facility is Australia’s first critical minerals demonstration facility to be built in Townsville.

Vecco plans to produce vanadium and high purity alumina at its Debella Project near Julia Creek will be integrated with the new manufacturing facility.

Until the Debella project comes online, Vecco Group will use imported vanadium to produce high-grade vanadium electrolyte in Townsville.

A Queensland Battery Industry Strategy is currently being developed to grow local industry and supply chains. The ‘Battery industry opportunities for Queensland’ discussion paper open for public consultation until 31 March 2023.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said, “These batteries will be made in Queensland, right here in Townsville, and will change the game for renewable energy storage.

Related article: Call for bauxite and aluminium to be named critical minerals

“A key to my government’s landmark Energy and Jobs Plan is supercharging our SuperGrid with initiatives like this, as we transition to a cleaner, more reliable energy system.

“There’s no better place to launch an Australian first than here in Townsville—the gateway to Queensland’s vast renewable energy zone and North West Minerals Province.”

Previous articleSolar farms drive first net profit for Genex
Next articleCorporate Australia can ‘lead the charge’ for EV uptake