Australia is making progress towards the superpower vision by making and supplying renewable energy equipment and solutions.
Progress: Exporting electric vehicle chargers: Tritium
These are electric vehicle chargers in a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) car park in California. The chargers are world-leading high-powered chargers produced by Tritium. Tritium is based in Brisbane. They’ve sold 4,500 chargers across 33 counties. Here’s an Australian company finding a niche in the global renewable economy.
(NASA plugs into Australian electric vehicle chargers: Renew Economy: August 2018)
Progress: Renewable energy enabling robust agriculture: Sundrop Farms
Renewable energy has enabled productive agriculture on this near-desert land, near Port Augusta in South Australia. Sundrop Farms has been growing tomatoes in these greenhouses since 2016. Sundrop supplies Coles and grows about 15% of Australia’s tomatoes. Most Australians would have eaten some.
On the left, there are 20 hectares of greenhouses. They grow tomatoes in water, not in soil. The water is desalinated ocean water stored in the ponds in the foreground. On the right, there are over 23,000 mirrors that focus the sun’s rays on the tower to heat molten salts. The hot molten salts are kept in the storage tanks and used to generate electricity as needed. Solar electricity is available 24 hours a day, to desalinating seawater and run the place. This is a concentrating solar thermal generator.
Sundrop farms has renewable technology know-how. This is progress towards the superpower vision.
Drought proof agriculture using renewable energy
Progress: Electric Planes
Beaver Seaplane test flight
This is a Beaver seaplane fitted with an electric propulsion system. It had its first electric test flight on 10 December 2019. The plane has a range of 160 km and can carry six passengers. Harbour Air in Vancouver, Canada owns this seaplane and plans to convert all of their 42 seaplanes. The company carries half million passengers a year.
The company MagniX made and installed this electric propulsion system – and the birthplace of this technology was the MagniX engineering centre on the Australian Gold Coast in Queensland.
(Successful flight of the world’s first commercial electric aeroplane confirmed: Harbour Air: 10 Dec 2019)
(Image credit: Clermont Group: MagniX)
Cessna Caravan test flight
A converted Cessna Caravan, also powered by a MagniX electric engine, had its first test flight in May 2020. This plane can carry nine passengers. On the half-hour test flight, carrying only the pilot, the plane covered 160 km.
The fuel costs of this electric test flight were low, US$6. The flight would have used petrol worth about US$350.
(Electric aircraft could take to the skies over Australia: PV Magazine: 1 June 2020)
Australian Cessna Caravan plans
Sydney Seaplanes plans to work with MagniX on converting a Cessna Caravan to carry passengers the 50 km between Rose Bay in Sydney and Palm Beach. Sydney Seaplanes is Australia’s largest passenger seaplane carrier and expects to have regulatory approval early in 2023.
(Sydney Seaplanes goes electric to convert a Cessna in an Australian first: Renew Economy: 10 Dec 2020)
MagniX will provide propulsion systems for “Alice”, a 9-seater electric plane with a range of 1000 km. It’s a beautiful plane, but an electrical fault and fire has delayed the first test flight.
(Regional airline commits to a world-first commercial electric plane: Aerospace News: Nov 2019)
(How this electric aeroplane [Alice] could reshape regional air travel: The Driven: 12 Nov 2018)
Electric commercial flight
People thought that electric passenger-planes were only a dream. That’s because jet fuel carries more energy per kilogram than batteries, about 48 times more. So, it’s surprising that these planes will take off carrying passengers in about a year.
Renewable energy powered flight is taking off
Australia has know-how and can generate cheap electricity, so electric flight is progress towards the superpower vision.
All Electric Rubbish Trucks
Here’s a fully electric rubbish truck that started work in 2019 in the City of Casey, in Melbourne. Now, there is a similar rubbish truck working in Adelaide too.
The trucks are designed & made in Australia. Superior-Pak makes the trucks, while SEA Electric supplies the electric drives. SEA has a factory in Dandenong & they electrify other commercial vehicles: trucks, buses, and vans. SEA has won orders in the US too & they are setting up there.
Here’s another Australian business, finding a niche in the global renewable economy.
(Australian electric truck company SEA powers into the USA market: The Driven: 5 Feb 2020)
Progress: Sonnen: Battery manufacturing
We’re Making Batteries. Renewables = New Jobs.
Sonnen is producing lithium-ion home batteries in what was the Holden factory in Adelaide.
(Sonnen begins exports to NZ: Australian Manufacturing: 16 May 2019)
Progress: Safescape: Electric vehicles for mining
Safescape is an Australian company is producing an all-electric vehicle for use in mines. It’s based on a diesel Brazilian military vehicle.
(Australian company unveils an electric vehicle for the mining industry: The Driven: 7 May 2019)
- The main page on Australia’s progress to becoming a renewable energy superpower
Updated 2 December 2020