The federal opposition has pledged $2 million for a pilot sodium ion battery manufacturing plant in Geelong as part of a $57 million electric vehicle policy announced yesterday.
The announcement from shadow industry minister Kim Carr included $30 million for R&D within the electric vehicle industry, $25 million in business grants for companies making components, and $2 million for the plant for sodium ion manufacture.
The joint venture CSIRO-Deakin facility, Battery Technology Research and Innovation Hub (BatTRI-Hub) focusses on lithium air, lithium sulfur, sodium air and sodium ion research. Sodium ion battery storage has been studied since the 1970s, but lithium ion batteries – which power everything from phones to EVs – have led adoption. Some are backing sodium ion technology as having unexploited advantages in safety and in charging/discharging more rapidly, and predict it could be included in the next generation of batteries.
“This new facility will build on the work of Deakin, which has invested significantly in developing improved energy storage, with our BatTRI-Hub centre led out of the world-leading Institute for Frontier Materials, along with current construction of a $30 million Renewable Energy Microgrid set to power the University’s Waurn Ponds Campus,” Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander said.
“The emerging technology of sodium for use in batteries has the potential to offer safer and lower-cost battery technology for the kind of large-scale storage that will be required by the electric vehicle industry and for commercial and residential use into the future.“This includes for the commercial vehicle industry, which could help to revolutionise the environmental impact of heavy vehicles.
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