High energy density battery goes from research to reality

A battery technology designed and patented by the University of Adelaide has finalised a $1 million research contract which will take the project to commercialisation.

The high energy density battery, using zinc and manganese, as well as an incombustible aqueous electrolyte, is cheaper, safer, and more reliable than other batteries on the market, according to the University of Adelaide.

The investment in the technology comes from Chinese battery manufacturer Zhuoyue Power New Energy Ltd. The company aims to have a battery ready for sale in a year.

Designed by Dongliang Chao, and Shi-Zhang Qiao, from the School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials at the University of Adelaide, the battery could be used in a variety of applications.

“I can imagine this battery being used on all vehicle types from small scooters to even diesel electric trains. Also in homes that need batteries to store solar power, or even large solar/wind farms,” said Chao.

As the market for batteries that can store large amounts of energy for households and at utility scale increases, the local manufacture of batteries from materials readily available in Australia, holds promise for future jobs and industries.

“With more sustainable energy being produced – such as through wind and solar farms – storing this energy in batteries in a safe, non-expensive and environmentally sound way is becoming more urgent but current battery materials – including lithium, lead and cadmium – are expensive, hazardous and toxic,” said Chao.

The estimated cost per kilowatt hour is US$10 ($14). In comparison, lithium-ion batteries run at US$300 ($433) per kilowatt hour.

The design of the battery took into account manufacturing processes, as well as its end use in automotive, aerial vehicles, and domestic and commercial dwellings.

“In addition, the battery uses basic materials and simple manufacturing processes so will be much cheaper to produce and easier to recycle than existing batteries of comparable energy density,” said Chao.