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Aus battery company awarded $3.5M for projects here and Europe

12 Aug 2019
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Australian technology company Calix has announced two new development projects, for advanced battery development and CO2 capture work, based in Australia and Europe, as well as completion of construction of its BATMn reactor for advanced battery materials. 

The CRC-P (Cooperative Research Centre Projects) programme is an Australian Government initiative of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science to support short-term industry-led collaborations to develop important new technologies, products and services that deliver tangible outcomes. 

On Friday, the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon. Karen Andrews announced the $9.4m project “The CRC-P for Advanced Hybrid Batteries”. 

The project, which Calix will lead and will receive $3m in funding over three years, will be a collaboration between Calix, the Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) and BatTRI-Hub at Deakin University (led by Prof. Maria Forsyth and Prof Patrick Howlett) and Boron Molecular. 

The project aims to develop high performance, low-cost, fast charge-discharge lithium-ion hybrid batteries based on nano-active electrode materials manufactured by Calix in its BATMn reactor at Bacchus Marsh, Victoria and ionic liquid electrolytes developed by Deakin University and Boron Molecular.   

Coin-cell fabrication, electrochemical screening and testing of Calix’s highly porous “nano-active” electrode materials (such as manganese oxide (Mn3O4) cathodes, and titanium oxide (TiO2) anodes) and ionic liquid electrolytes will be carried out by IFM at Deakin. 

BAT-TRI-HUB will manufacture pouch cell and battery pack prototypes which will be supplied to global manufacturers and customers for performance evaluation. 

The CRC-P aims to establish a platform for a sustainable Australian manufacturing industry delivering high performance, affordable, and more recyclable lithium-ion hybrid batteries. 

Battery technology development is rapidly progressing, with novel sodium and magnesium batteries on the horizon. 

Calix is deeply engaged with leading researchers worldwide to ensure that its “nano-active” materials are considered as the basis for the next generation of batteries. 

In Australia, Calix is an active member of the Australian Research Council’s Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Future Energy Storage Technologies (storEnergy), coordinated by Deakin University, through projects with Monash University and QUT, and with the European Union’s Polystorage project. 

These networks give Calix unique access to world leaders in future battery technology developments.   

“Calix is uniquely placed to accelerate the development and commercialisation of high-performance electrochemical energy storage devices,” says Calix Battery and catalyst R&D programme head Dr Matt Boot-Handford.“

“We have a patented and proven approach to making highly porous “nano-active” materials for both anodes and cathodes, a commercial-scale production reactor, short-term projects in place through the CRC-P to demonstrate batteries using our materials, and long term national and global linkages to expertise in batteries through StorEnergy and Polystorage.” 

Calix has also completed construction and has commenced commissioning its BATMn reactor, on time and on budget. 

The reactor is key to developing the new materials for advanced batteries. Built at a cost of $2.3m, with $0.8m funded through the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Fund, the reactor is an electrically powered version of the Calix Flash Calcining technology. 

It will be a key provider of novel materials for the recently announced CRC-P for Advanced Hybrid Batteries, and the storEnergy consortium. 

Cement and lime production, and CO2 emissions 

Calix has been developing and proving its Direct Separation Capture technology for the cement and lime industries in the $33m project LEILAC (“Low Emissions Intensity Lime and Cement”). 

The LEILAC plant was officially opened in early May and the first commissioning results were released in late July. 

That plant aims to capture the “process” CO2 emitted from the making of cement and lime (those CO2 emissions which come from the limestone itself – about half the weight of the rock), which is responsible for about 65% of emissions from these industries. Recently, industry leaders such as HeidelbergCement have announced that they will be zero-emissions by 2050.  

Companies in Europe are facing significant costs for their emissions, as their allocation of free CO2 permits is reducing year-by-year from 2020. 

Cement and lime manufacture require significant amounts of heat, and CO2 emissions from the fuels used to generate this heat is responsible for about 35% of total CO2 emissions from these industries. 

Having addressed the 65% of CO2 coming from the limestone itself with the LEILAC technology, Calix is now looking to address the remaining 35% from the combustion gases. 

New $4.8m European CO2 Capture Project “ANICA” - Calix to receive $0.5m funding to advance its technology 

Calix, through its UK subsidiary, Calix (Europe), is a partner in the $4.8m project, ANICA, that has been awarded funding under the EU ACT-CCS Program to capture the emissions from cement. 

ANICA is a German-UK-Greece consortium of 11 partners, which will develop a novel Indirect Heating Calcium Looping Technology, developed by Technical University Darmstadt. Calix will assess the use of this technology to capture CO2 from the combustion gas and will develop the designs for a future pilot plant. 

“In ANICA, Calix will work with the partners to integrate its LEILAC technology for capturing process CO2, with the Darmstadt “looping” technology to capture combustion CO2,” says Calix co-founder and chief scientist Dr Mark Sceats.

“Looping uses lime as the CO2 sorbent, and the spent lime can be used in cement, so there is no waste. The combination of both can give zero emissions cement.”