$1.6m grant to Brisbane offshoot of Perth’s Lithium Australia to help develop fast-charge batteries for trams

Image Credit: stocklight.com
Media Release

Lithium Australia subsidiary VSPC awarded federal government grant in $5 million battery development programme.

Lithium Australia NL (ASX: LIT) is pleased to announce the participation of its 100%-owned subsidiary VSPC – together with CSIRO, UQ and Soluna – in a $5 million CRC-P programme to develop fast-charge lithium-ion (‘Li-ion’) batteries for use in new generation trams. (Battery-powered trams eliminate the need for overhead power lines, which are expensive, visually polluting and potentially hazardous.)

As well as expertise in the design of Li-ion batteries, CSIRO already has specific experience and intellectual property relating to fast-charge batteries for application in trams and other forms of transport (such as e-buses, ferries and military applications).
VSPC will partner with battery researchers at CSIRO’s Clayton site in Victoria to design, manufacture and test fast-charge Li-ion battery prototypes.

The UQ team at the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology – led by Professor Lianzhou Wang from the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology – has extensive capabilities with respect to the analysis of advanced
materials. VSPC will work with the UQ team on both the characterisation and optimisation of VSPC’s battery materials.

Soluna, meanwhile, will advise on manufacturing and also lead commercialisation of the fast-charge battery products developed.

Comment from CSIRO principal research scientist Adam Best

“CSIRO has over 35 years’ experience with batteries, and more than 15 years of working in the lithium battery field. We’re excited to be applying our significant capabilities and expertise to this project, in conjunction with VSPC and UQ, for the design, manufacture and testing of next-generation fast-charge batteries that incorporate VSPC’s advanced cathode materials.”

Comment from VSPC executive director Mike Vaisey

“This project is a tremendous opportunity to bring together Australia’s technological capabilities – including VSPC’s advanced cathode materials, CSIRO’s battery expertise and UQ’s analytical abilities – to develop new battery systems using VSPC cathode material. Light rail is experiencing a resurgence worldwide as cities modernise, and fastcharge batteries are critical to avoiding the poles and wires of the past.”

Comment from Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin

“This is an unparalleled opportunity to combine VSPC’s battery-materials technology with some of the world’s leading research. The aim is to deliver an Australian product that puts this country at the forefront of battery development … and there’s more to it than trams; successful application of what is currently at our fingertips will lead to myriad other fast-charge applications, many of them not yet thought of.”