Townsville’s Vanadium Battery Production Leads Energy Storage Revolution

The Queensland Government has committed to building the Townsville Vanadium Battery Manufacturing Facility, a $26 million commercial-scale vanadium flow battery electrolyte manufacturing facility.
The new vanadium battery electrolyte production facility will support the development of Vecco’s Debella Critical Minerals Mine. It will also lead to downstream manufacturing and creating a new link in the supply chain.
Vecco Group will produce the electrolyte used in grid-scale vanadium flow batteries – a type of battery leading the energy storage revolution.
Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said, “These batteries will be made in Queensland, right here in Townsville, and will change the game for renewable energy storage.
“A key to my government’s landmark Energy and Jobs Plan is supercharging our SuperGrid with initiatives like this, as we transition to a cleaner, more reliable energy system.
“There’s no better place to launch an Australian first than here in Townsville – the gateway to Queensland’s vast renewable energy zone and North West Minerals Province.”
The Townsville Vanadium Battery Manufacturing Facility is expected to begin production in late 2023.
When operational, it will employ 21 people and produce nine megalitres of electrolyte annually, equating to an energy storage capacity of 175MWh annually with plans to expand to 350MWh.
Vanadium flow batteries are a proven grid-scale energy storage solution with advantages including a long lifespan, lengthy storage capability and are non-flammable.
Deputy Queensland Premier, Steven Miles, said this project is history making. Townsville will be the first place in the country to manufacture large scale vanadium batteries.
“The batteries will be Queensland made and they will form part of a new vanadium supply chain, providing enormous possibilities for North Queensland,” Mr Miles said.
“Vanadium flow batteries provide the grid-scale storage needed so renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, can reliably power Queensland homes, businesses and industries.
“The ability to store and discharge energy on an industrial scale is one of the final pieces in the puzzle for decarbonising the electricity network.”
The Queensland Government’s $75 million investment in the Queensland Resources Common User Facility is Australia’s first critical minerals demonstration facility to be built in Townsville.
Vecco plans to produce vanadium and high purity alumina at its Debella Project near Julia Creek will be integrated with the new manufacturing facility.
Vecco Group Managing Director, Thomas Northcott, said, “This manufacturing facility will be a key enabler for vanadium flow batteries in the Queensland grid. We’ll be able to integrate mining and manufacturing and apply our expertise in critical minerals into the downstream supply chain to assist Queensland to achieve its renewable energy target.
“Australia’s demand for medium and deep duration storage by 2050 has been estimated at over 180GWh by the market operator, vanadium flow batteries made right here in Townsville from Queensland’s minerals can help meet this need while creating good jobs in regional areas.
“We look forward to taking advantage of all the opportunities opening up for renewable energy manufacturing now that the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan is being delivered.”
Until the Debella project comes online, Vecco Group will use imported vanadium to produce high-grade vanadium electrolyte in Townsville.
Queensland Minister for Resources and Member for Townsville, Scott Stewart, said there is enormous potential for vanadium mining and production in North Queensland as demand for vanadium batteries continues to rise.
“The North West Minerals Province has an abundance of critical minerals like vanadium which is needed to produce large scale batteries which are a key part of Queensland’s Energy and Jobs Plan,” Mr Stewart said.
“There are huge opportunities to continue creating good jobs in both our resources industry and renewable energy sector through developing critical minerals projects.”
A Queensland Battery Industry Strategy is currently being developed to grow local industry and supply chains. The ‘Battery industry opportunities for Queensland’ discussion paper is open for public consultation until 31 March 2023.