Australia’s leading listed battery maker wants to come home
That would be enough to generate a certain investment environment, rather than governments wanting to compete with the hundreds of billions of dollars in clean-tech subsidies handed out under the Biden administration’s colossal Inflation Reduction Act, he said.
“There is a lot of discussion about whether Australia should get into a bidding war with the US on those lines. I don’t think it particularly needs to compete. We have enormous reserves of minerals and metals here. And a potentially huge demand in Australia for energy storage [in the power grid].”
Mr Albanese stated in February that domestic production of batteries and other clean energy technologies was a key element of the government’s plan to strengthen the country’s sovereign manufacturing capacity.
But Thailand and leading battery technology markets such as China and South Korea have an edge in advanced manufacturing capabilities. And the American Inflation Reduction Act, Joe Biden’s flagship energy bill, has become the centerpiece of the global green investment boom
Redflow can receive generous tax breaks of more than 30 percent under the IRA. That’s if it sets up a factory – and sources materials in the US – to serve its growing customer base, particularly on the East Coast where it has developed a 2 Megawatt-hour (2MW/h) battery funded in part by a grant funded by the California Energy Commission.
But the proximity to high-quality Australian refined zinc from Sun Metals in Townsville or Nyrtar in Hobart and a strong need in the Australian market for long-lasting batteries makes the Australian market very attractive, Mr Harris said.
But strong government direction and support is needed.
“State governments and federal governments need to create a market for scalable projects from 10 megawatt-hours to 100 MWh-hour batteries. That provides that kind of anchor demand for companies like Redflow to tap into,” Mr Harris said.
“They also need to clearly prioritize Australian companies investing in Australia. We have all our IP here, and we’re willing to commit to creating work on it.”
Free Trade Zone
In 2018, Redflow moved its factory from the United States to one of Thailand’s many free trade zones – Chonburi, a major automotive and manufacturing and logistics hub 130 kilometers from Bangkok.
“We had to find a place that has a pool of labor that is internationally competitive. In particular, the location has a deep-sea port that has good shipping routes to our target markets.”
Redflow makes zinc-bromide “flow” batteries that charge using the reaction between zinc metal and bromine to produce electric current. Flow batteries sit in the long-duration storage category, where pumped hydro is the most mature technology.
Unlike large lithium-ion rapid charge and discharge batteries, flow batteries are best used for large-scale applications, as they are slower to charge and can discharge for up to 10 hours at a time.
AEMO chief executive Daniel Westerman, backed by federal energy and climate change minister Chris Bowen, said in February that “urgent” investment in long-term storage plants was needed.
“Investment in booster generation, such as pumped hydro, gas and long-duration batteries, is critical to complement our growing fleet of weather-dependent renewable generation to meet electricity demand without coal generation,” he said as he launched the annual report on the introduced prospects. for supply and demand in the National Electricity Market.
Redflow is the only listed battery company that manufactures batteries. It has a market capitalization of $32 million. ASX-listed Magnis Energy – which has a market capitalization of $296 million – is setting up a battery factory in the United States.