Megamillion aims to have the continent's "first lithium-ion battery production pilot" plant up and running in the second half of this year, says Megamillion Group CEO Nechan Naicker.
The exact location is still to be decided, with Coega the current preferred site.
The initial 0.25 GWh (scaleable) pilot plant will be capable of producing more than ten-million lithium-ion cells a year.
Funding for the $35-million pilot plant will flow from a mix of local and global private equity investors, with Naicker not yet willing to provide specifics.
Lithium-ion batteries have been used in rechargeable products, such as cell phones and laptops, for a number of years already, and more recently in electric vehicles. They are also used in small-scale business and utility applications, and as energy storage solutions for renewable energy installations.
“Working with established battery technology pioneers from China, the plan is to ramp up to an annual production output of 32 GWh of cells by 2028, with the primary focus on cells for the energy storage market and, thereafter, for the electric vehicle market,” says Naicker.
“We have already produced sample batteries with our partner, and these have successfully undergone tests at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Our cell is very advanced, it has a high energy density and our partner has a number of patents for its safety aspects.”
An African Solution
With a high prevalence of load-shedding in the Southern African Development Community, affordable energy storage is a critical factor for energy security, says Naicker.
While renewable energy sources are playing an important role in supplementing the energy generated from the traditional fossil-fuel energy sources, energy from wind and solar can be intermittent and not completely reliable, he notes.