Quinbrook to build polysilicon facility in Townsville

Close up of polysilicon solar panel
Image: Shutterstock

Australian-owned investment manager Quinbrook has announced plans to develop and build a state-of-the-art polysilicon manufacturing facility at Lansdown in Townsville, powered by a large-scale solar and battery storage project it plans to build on land adjacent.

Quinbrook is also partnering with Solquartz, which has 64ha at Lansdown to develop a metallurgical silicon metal processing plant.

Related article: Quinbrook renewables fund exceeds target by over 20%

The project will source silica quartz from around the Townsville region and process it to manufacture polysilicon wafers for use in solar panels as well as battery technology. Silica is much more efficient than other minerals at converting light into electricity.

Polysilicon is a basic building block for both solar panels and computer chips and Quinbrook believes the project has the potential to rank amongst the greenest polysilicon plants in the world given its access to low-cost renewable power at Lansdown.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said Quinbrook was a proven international investor in the global green energy arena, having been recently awarded Energy Investor of the Year for North America and Sponsor of the Year in 2022.

Quinbrook senior director Brian Restall said the company had targeted Lansdown because of its clear competitive advantages as a site for large scale manufacturing powered by renewables, logistics, site infrastructure and port access for export.

“Lansdown is close to the source of some of the best silica quartz resources in the world and it has the land and site infrastructure we need to build a truly state of the art manufacturing facility that will be powered by renewable energy,” Restall said.

“Close proximity to the port and multiple transport corridors make it a very compelling location for energy intensive, export driven ‘green’ manufacturing.

“We have strong relationships with and are a major customer of leading solar and battery manufacturers across the globe—meaning components manufactured here in Townsville will be exported to these leading manufacturers and made into finished solar modules and batteries.

“Our aim is that Quinbrook will ultimately purchase that equipment for our global power generation projects with total confidence in the supply chain that produced them. This is a ‘win win’ outcome.

“We’re looking forward to working with Townsville locals to manufacture green polysilicon right here in Queensland and make this a leading example of Australia’s green superpower potential.”

Related article: Quinbrook moves into renewable fuels with US acquisition

The Lansdown Eco Industrial Precinct was declared by Deputy Premier Steven Miles as a project of state significance in March this year.

Companies such as Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM) Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub project and Edify Energy’s green hydrogen production facility are already well advanced in planning for construction at Lansdown over coming years.

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