Plans are afoot to build a massive lithium-ion battery cell production facility in Geelong, a city located around an hour from Melbourne.
The goal is to create one of the world’s largest gigafactories, eventually generating up to 30 gigawatt hours (GWh) of storage capacity per year for EVs and stationary energy storage units.
Construction in Avalon near the airport is slated to begin in the second half of 2023, with the goal of producing batteries equal to 2GWh annually in the second half of 2024, and 6GWh by 2026.
As operations expand to full capacity, the factory is expected to employ an estimated 1500 to 2000 workers – directly. It should also be a great buyer for the copious amounts of lithium and nickel mined in Australia’s sandy inner regions.
Production equipment for the first 2GWh production line has already been secured with binding contracts and secured funding. The equipment is scheduled to arrive in Australia in late May 2023.
The company behind this mission is called Recharge Industries, which draws funds from Manhattan- and Geelong-based investment firm Scale Facilitation – founded and led by David Collard, known as the youngest partner in PwC New York headquarters’ history.
Recharge Industries has engaged listed professional services giant Accenture to get the design and build underway. The two say they are now moving the project into the detailed engineering phase, which will lay the foundation for the facility’s construction.
Accenture will advise on the layout, including utility planning and set-up of production lines. The company will assist in procuring and shipping required equipment, conduct final tests of all line equipment, and provide ongoing process and product engineering support.
“Establishing a sovereign manufacturing capability to produce state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery cells is critical to Australia’s renewable energy economy – meeting national demand, generating export income and securing supply chains,” said Recharge Industries CEO Rob Fitzpatrick.
“Our factory, which we are building with the assistance of Accenture’s engineering and capital projects expertise and underpinned by C4V’s [a key technology partner] IP and battery technology, will create thousands of jobs and attract large-scale investment from key players in Australia, the Indo-Pacific region, and other parts of the world.”
Industry professionals from the US, Europe and Australia are meeting in Geelong right now to discuss what’s needed to create a “transformational large-scale lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facility and battery precinct”.
“Australia has a choice: to be a follower or a leader in the world’s inevitable move to renewable energy,” Mr Fitzpatrick added.
“As a provider of the critical element for reliable green power distribution – storage – Recharge Industries is moving assuredly, with global leaders and key decision-makers, to create a domestically-strong supply chain.
“The economic resilience this offers will be a boon for local employment and investment, and pay dividends for the Victorian and Australian people, for decades to come.
“To that end, we are honoured those representatives – including Members of Parliament from the Victorian Government, industry advisors, Federal government agencies and the research sector – are joining us to participate in this transformational change engagement.”