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Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT) banks $1.6M government grant for battery-powered trams
  • Battery material all-rounder Lithium Australia (LIT) has landed a $1.6 million government grant to build lithium-ion batteries for trams
  • The grant is part of a $5 million government program to create the fast-charge batteries
  • Lithium Australia's subsidiary, VSPC, will team up with CSIRO, the University of Queensland, and Soluna Australia to make the products
  • With battery-powered trams, the need for overhead poles and powerlines disappears
  • Investors have taken well to today's news, with Lithium Australia shares currently up almost 10 per cent to trade for 6.4 cents each

Battery material jack of all trades Lithium Australia (LIT) has landed a $1.6 million government grant as part of a lithium tram battery program.

The $5 million program has signed on two Lithium Australia subsidiaries — wholly-owned VSPC and half-owned Soluna Australia — to work with the University of Queensland and Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Together, the organisations will team up to create fast-charge lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries for the latest generation of trams for the under the Federal Government's Co-operative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P).

VSPC, the recipient of the $1.6 million, will work with battery researchers from CSIRO in Victoria to design, build, and test the Li-ion battery prototypes.

Further, a team from the University of Queensland's Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology will work with VSPC to optimise the batteries it produces.

Meanwhile, Soluna will act as an adviser during the manufacturing process and take charge of the commercialisation of the final product.

The battery-powered trams will get rid of the need for overhead power lines — reducing the costs, pollution and danger of tram transport.

VSPC Executive Director Mike Vaisey said the CRC-P program will help bring rail travel up to modern standards in Australia.

"Light rail is experiencing a resurgence worldwide as cities modernise, and fast-charge batteries are critical to avoiding the poles and wires of the past," Mike said.

Lithium Australia Managing Director Adrian Griffin said along with the opportunities for light rail travel systems across the country, today's news is a significant opportunity for the company.

"This is an unparalleled opportunity to combine VSPC’s battery-materials technology with some of the world’s leading research," Adrian said.

He said the government program puts Australia at the forefront of worldwide battery development.

"There’s more to it than trams; successful application of what is currently at our fingertips will lead to myriad other fast-charge applications, many of them not yet thought of," he said.

To be paired with CSIRO, which has over 35 years' experience with batteries and over 15 years in the lithium battery field specifically, is a vote of confidence for Lithium Australia from the government.

Investors seem to have taken well to the news, with LIT shares gaining almost 10 per cent in today's trading session. In mid-afternoon trade, shares in LIT are worth 6.4 cents each.


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