Graphite miner Magnis Resources has been handed a $3.1 million cheque from the Queensland government to help build a battery “gigafactory” in the state.
Gigafactory, a term coined by Elon Musk’s Tesla, refers to huge factories that make lithium batteries that power electric cars.
Gigafactory refers to a facility’s annual production capacity in gigawatt-hours (GWh). One GWh is the equivalent of generating 1 billion watts for one hour.
The Queensland grant, which was awarded to Magnis subsidiary Imperium3, will fund a feasibility study for a 15-gigawatt (GWh) lithium-ion battery plant in Townsville.
Magnis’s wants to build three gigafactories — but test data released in July shows it still has a way to go in battery making.
The company began the study following an agreement to fast-track development in June this year.
Initial work has focused on the selection of equipment vendor partners and the development of the manufacturing design concept.
“Magnis has an active program of developing these battery plants,” chairman Frank Poullas told investors.
“Re-assembly work at the New York facility at Huron Campus is on schedule and this development in Queensland is a major step forward for Australian battery plant operations.”
Tests have shown that Magnis’s silicon-enhanced graphite anode — the negatively charged part of a lithium ion battery — performed at 98 per cent energy capacity for up to 35 charging cycles.
Practically, a car needs a battery to last 1000 cycles. Commercial batteries are generally tested to handle thousands of cycles, so a 35 cycle test is only useful as a very early indication of what a part may be able to do in the lab.
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A charge cycle is the equivalent of fully charging and discharging a battery — though that may happen over several days.
The feasibility study is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2019.
Magnis shares were down 1.4 per cent at 36c on Monday morning.