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Queensland spin-out to launch electric vehicle battery

A Brisbane company developing a more efficient way to obtain essential battery materials is powering ahead with plans to open a demonstration plant at Coopers Plains.

Pure Battery Technologies Pty Ltd has raised $1.74 million which will also allow the startup to expand its operations in Brisbane and progress plans to open a manufacturing plant in Townsville.

Based on technology developed by The University of Queensland, Pure Battery Technologies is commercialising a process to extract nickel and cobalt minerals and convert them into battery materials more effectively and cheaply.

The patented technology is licensed to Pure Battery Technologies by UniQuest, UQ’s commercialisation company.

Pure Battery Technologies managing director and CEO Bjorn Zikarsky said strong investor support and demand meant the company’s expansion plans in Queensland were full steam ahead.

“Our demonstration plant in Coopers Plains is vital to showcase our product to potential buyers on a larger scale,” he said.

“The facility will start operating and producing bulk sample material for testing with battery makers in time for the start of 2019.

“In addition, the investment will allow us to finalise a feasibility study to support our plans to establish a large manufacturing plant in Townsville.

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“We plan to build the facility in the vicinity of the Port of Townsville, creating up to 100 new jobs and positioning our company as a leader in the fast-growing electric vehicle industry.”

Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ) has helped Pure Battery Technologies connect with potential buyers globally, and is hosting a roundtable discussion in London with industry stakeholders this month.

TIQ Deputy Trade and Investment Commissioner Warren Bartlett said the discussion would involve investors, materials suppliers, battery producers and EV manufacturers.

“With roughly 80 per cent of the world’s current and planned battery production located in Asia, the European Union is allocating billions of funding for electric battery plants in Europe to support its automotive industry,” he said.

“This is an exciting time for Pure Battery Technologies to be introducing their innovative, cost effective solution into the supply chain.”

Mr Zikarsky said the company had applied to the Federal Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund and for an AusIndustry Accelerating Commercialisation grant to build the plant.

“The company is also seeking support through the Queensland Government’s Jobs and Regional Growth Fund,” he said.

“Demand is increasing for renewable energy sources and investing to capitalise on battery-supported clean energy such as wind and solar is smart policy.

“Not only are we using UQ’s patent-protected acid leaching process to produce battery-ready nickel and cobalt products more cheaply, but we are leaving a smaller environmental footprint, are more energy efficient and produce less solid waste or tailings than other extraction methods.”

UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said it was exciting to see the research by UQ hydrometallurgists Dr James Vaughan and Dr Will Hawker progress towards the market.

“Global demand for batteries is growing and it is fantastic to see homegrown UQ technology be adapted to the real world to benefit industry and meet increasing consumer demand,” he said.

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