A great example of both the strengths and challenges of Australia’s innovation ecosystem in Pure Battery Technologies (PBT).
Headquartered in Brisbane, PBT was founded in 2017 to produce environmentally superior, very pure battery materials for lithium-ion batteries with technology initially developed by the University of Queensland.
PBT’s patented Selective Acid Leaching (SAL) process can refine intermediate nickel and cobalt products more flexibly with a lower environmental footprint than other processing methods.
When the innovation reached pilot scale, PBT partnered with CRONIMET Group (Germany) to prove the commercial viability of the innovation.
The plant in Germany provides a foothold in the European battery market while demonstrating the commercial viability of the technology to support PBT’s planned Australian refineries.
Fortunately, this innovation will soon be commercially producing products on Australian shores through its planned WA based pCAM Hub. PBT was the recipient of one of the recent MMI grants. This pCAM Hub project is expected to create over 1100 jobs for the Kalgoorlie/Coolgardie regions. It will provide easier access for the green processing of locally mined nickel products. The Project will initially produce 50,000tpa of precursor Cathode Active Material (pCAM) expandable to 100,000tpa within 5 years.
PBT will receive $119.6 million in grants funding to collaborate to build the new battery material refinery hub. It will grow advanced manufacturing capability in Australia.
In terms of strengths, this example showcases Australia’s world leading research capability. In terms of challenges, our research required partnerships with overseas companies to commercialise innovation, do the lack of local capability for commercialisation.