Townsville North Queensland supercharged for vanadium battery manufacturing

21st February 2024

In an exciting announcement today, vanadium flow batteries will be entirely manufactured out of North Queensland, under a new agreement between three major companies.

Idemitsu AustraliaSumitomo Electric Industries and Vecco Group (the group) have signed a Collaboration Agreement to build a complete manufacturing supply chain, from mining to energy storage.

Idemitsu plans to market, sell and deliver vanadium flow batteries to Australian customers using Sumitomo Electric hardware and Vecco’s electrolyte made from vanadium mined in Queensland’s north west minerals province, near Julia Creek.

Vecco Group will mine and refine high purity vanadium, manufacture the electrolyte and commence detailed design for a commercial production facility in Townsville.

To cater for the growth expected under this new agreement, Vecco has now secured a 3.2 hectare site at Cleveland Bay Industrial Park (CBIP), in the Townsville State Development Area, for its commercial production facility.

Queensland Premier, Steven Miles said today’s announcement shows how our 75% emissions reduction target by 2035 secures investment in new blue-collar clean economy jobs across our regions.

“We are taking vanadium from Julia Creek – one of the world's biggest and best vanadium resources – and turning it into batteries here creating more local jobs," Minister Miles said.

“We know those batteries will provide deep storage into our own grid, but today we are taking it a step further."“This means manufacturing the vanadium flow batteries needed in Australia to transition to renewable energy and supplying vanadium electrolyte to the world.”Vecco Group Managing Director Tom Northcott said the demand for vanadium flow batteries is rapidly increasing to meet the world’s energy storage demands."

“Over 7.4GWh of vanadium flow battery projects globally are currently under construction or have been announced in the last 12 month."

“The decision for Idemitsu to market and deploy vanadium flow batteries using Sumitomo and Vecco products acknowledges the scale of the opportunity.”

Townsville Enterprise CEO Claudia Brumme-Smith is pleased to see our member Vecco reach this important milestone. It’s a testament to the growth opportunity in our region that Vecco and its investment partners are working towards bringing end-to-end manufacturing in critical minerals and battery manufacturing to Townsville.”

“The ultimate goal would be to have our batteries branded as “Made in Townsville” and used in Queensland for storing our renewable energy.”

“We know that relationships are the keystone to doing good business and having worked with Vecco over a number of years, and meeting with Sumitomo and Idemitsu in recent visits to Japan last year, awareness of Townsville is growing exponentially.”

“This region is a case study for how public and private sector investment can work hand in hand to create meaningful contributions to local jobs, enhanced liveability for our community, and building economies of scale right here in North Queensland – Australia’s most liveable green manufacturing city.”

“The recent flurry of announcements – from hydrogen, Sustainable Aviation Fuel, and now to end-to-end battery manufacturing, is the result of what we have said and believed all along - that the CopperString effect would pay dividends for our region, and now this is truly becoming a reality, and major private sector investors are turning their attention to Townsville North Queensland as a global renewable energy powerhouse.”

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