Analysis and Commentary

Episode 16 — Mark Chilcote from Energy Renaissance

Analysis and Commentary

In episode 16 of @AuManufacturing Conversations with Brent Balinski, we hear from Mark Chilcote, Managing Director of Energy Renaissance.

ER was founded in 2015, is currently running a pilot plant at Tomago, and is preparing to begin volume production of lithium ion batteries by the end of the year.  

This interview comes during a week where industry minister Ed Husic and Tesla chair Robyn Denholm have used high-profile speeches to draw attention to Australia’s massive, unrealised potential to create wealth within the lithium battery value chain.

As Chilcote points out:

“I think there are some specialist areas, I think BHP in Western Australia are making good strides in the processing of nickel, for example. We still have an awful long way to go, I think. At the moment, when we start our cell manufacture in 18 months’ time, unfortunately we will still have to import 100 per cent of the product that goes into those cells, even though at the core of it, it’ll be Australian minerals.”

This episode is generously sponsored by the All Energy Australia Exhibition and Conference, which will be held October 26 and 27 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. You can hear Chilcote expand on the challenges and opportunities of building a vertically-integrated battery and cell manufacturing facility at the event.

If you enjoy the conversation and you haven’t already, please subscribe, leave a review via the podcast platform of your choice, and help us spread the word.

Episode guide

1:15 – introduction to the company and its ambition to move into battery cell manufacturing as well as battery energy storage systems.

2:20 – A glossary or battery terms.

4:28 – Picking a niche and doing market research in the company’s early days.

7:25 – Moving into Renaissance One, after operating its pilot plant, then rolling out the robots next year.

9:38 – Growing Australian participation in Energy Renaissance’s supply chain, with the example of local company Academy Sheetmetal.

11:28 – Why 99 per cent Australian content is the goal but 100 per cent is unlikely.

13:10 – There’s “an awful long way to go” with adding value. Chilcote explains why more battery manufacturers would be great for everyone as well as competition for his business.

15:10 – Demystifying a few things about battery making and our ability to participate in it. “We have every ingredient. I think we’ve just got to change our mindset to wanting to do it rather than just making our money out of digging it out of the ground.”

17:55 – The difficulties in getting investment support in Australia. Plus the federal politician who told ER they’d be better off manufacturing offshore.

21:10 – What does a legislated 43 per cent emissions reduction target mean for companies?

23:27 – We can take a few lessons from the Americans.

Further reading




Picture: Members of Energy Renaissance’s team, with Chilcote on the far right (credit: Energy Renaissance)

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