Swinburne researchers receive $3.45m gov grant for energy research

Swinburne researchers have secured $3.45 million in funding to continue work on a project investigating energy storage alternatives using graphene oxide – the lightest, strongest and most electrically conductive material to be discovered and reportedly, according to the researchers, has the potential to revolutionise manufacturing across all industries.

Researchers at the university will receive the grant as part of the Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) funds commissioned by the Australian Government.

The Swinburne Centre for Micro-Photonics is collaborating with Flinders University as well as industry leaders First Graphene Ltd and Kremford Pty Ltd.

The “high performance energy storage alternative to lithium ion batteries” project is working towards creating commercially viable and chemical-free batteries using graphene. This involves the production of a graphene oxide-based supercapacitor, which will be the world’s first alternative to lithium ion batteries (LIB).

Swinburne Research Leader Professor Baohua Jia leads a team developing the Bolt Electricity Storage Technology (BEST) battery – a graphene oxide-based supercapacitor offering high performance and low-cost energy storage.

“The battery is very thin, it is carbon based and it is environmentally friendly. We filed a patent on the technology last year” Jia said.

However, unreliable quality and a lack of manufacturing processes has prevented graphene from becoming industry standard. Earlier in October, Swinburne created the world’s first graphene certification centre as part of its revolutionary research into graphene and digital manufacturing processes.

The primary focus of the centre is to develop graphene to the point where it will meet strict quality guidelines and be ready for use in large-scale manufacturing. The university believes that graphene will be a key feature to for Industry 4.0 technologies which are increasingly being adopted by manufacturing companies globally.

The project received the funding as part of the fourth round of grants awarded under the CRC-P stream of the overarching CRC Program.