Western Australia is ideally placed to take a slice of the lucrative battery industry, with the Kwinana Industrial Area playing pivotal role.
A Kwinana Major Projects conference last month was told projections for employment opportunities alone had doubled in the past 18 months.
Future Battery Industry Cooperative Research Council Education and Training Manager Dr Rodney Thiele told the conference that projections now suggested a battery industry would create 61,000 jobs, up from 34,000.
Around 28,000 battery related jobs would be needed in WA by 2030.
The FBICRC is funded by State and Federal Governments, with the Minerals Research Institute of WA and the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation particularly active in WA, Dr Thiele said.
It is Australia’s largest collaborative enterprise for the battery industry with 73 participants, 15 research projects valued at $120 million and a national mission to create a thriving domestic battery industry for Australia.
“Clean tech jobs will suit those in transitioning sectors, those interested in STEM as well as people concerned by climate change,” Dr Thiele said.
“However, this is a globally competitive industry with up to 4 million people needed for battery related industries in the medium term.
“Approximately 30 per cent of roles will be university educated engineers, metallurgists, and electrochemists, while 70 per cent of roles will be VET-trained including construction, process operation, instrumentation, electricians, logistics, laboratory technicians.”
The FBICRC is operating a Cathode Precursor Production Pilot Plant at Curtin where 10 post graduate chemical engineers are working on co-crystallisation techniques for battery materials.
The State Government’s Future Battery Industry Strategy aims to grow WA’s future battery industry and transform it into a significant source of economic development, diversification, jobs and skills.
WA has large reserves of minerals used in the manufacture of rechargeable batteries, including large quantities of lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, and alumina.
It also produces non-battery minerals used in the manufacture of electric vehicles and energy storage systems, including rare earth elements that are necessary for the production of electric motors.
“The Kwinana strip is well placed to play a lead role in that growth given that more than one quarter of the value of a lithium-ion battery pack is in the cathode active materials,” Dr Thiele said.
“We work with key Kwinana region stakeholders along the battery supply chain, including, the processing and refining of lithium, vanadium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, graphite, high purity alumina, cathode precursor materials (P-CAM) for lithium-ion batteries and vanadium electrolytes for flow batteries.”