Federal government supports two new energy storage research hubs

Battery

The Federal government has announced $7.5 million in funding for two new research hubs that will focus on different aspects of advancing Australia’s energy storage sector.

Deakin University will receive $4.4 million to set up an Australian Research Council Training Centre for Future Energy Storage Technologies – which will ensure the next generation of energy storage researchers and workers have the required skills and aims to create new knowledge and intellectual property in advanced energy materials, batteries and related control systems.

Another $3.1 million in funding is also being provided for a new research hub at the University of New South Wales. The ARC Research Hub for Integrated Energy Storage Solutions will be developing new technologies including printed batteries, structural supercapacitors, novel fuel cells and power-to-gas systems, with view to integration of these technologies within existing energy networks.

The funding was announced yesterday by Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham and Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg, as part of the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) latest round of National Competitive Grants Program funding.

Read: The state of energy storage in Australia

“The energy sector is going through rapid transformational change, and we need the best and brightest researchers at the forefront of this change developing new ideas and new technologies,” Minister Birmingham said.

“We need researchers who will expand Australia’s capability in energy production and in the critical area of energy storage.

“These researchers will be vital in working with industry to explore and develop new types of energy storage beyond batteries, for example hydrogen storage technology.”

Minister Frydenberg said research in energy storage is vital as the future of Australia’s energy sector continues to transition.

“Our National Energy Guarantee is focused on tackling power prices, reducing emissions and delivering reliability to Australia’s electricity network and combined with the types of research advances we’re investing in we’re ensuring the country is well-placed for the future.

Read: Australia leading the global energy storage race

“With the change in electricity generation, there is also the need for advancements in energy storage and its continued integration, and this Hub will at the heart of this.

“I expect researchers to work with the energy sector to progress innovations in energy storage technologies such as printed batteries, structural supercapacitors, fuel cells and power-togas systems.

“Working closely with industry this Hub will at the forefront of developing more cost effective energy storage solutions that also allow for better integration into the future energy grid.”

The funding empowers Deakin-led dedicated energy centre

The Australian Research Council Training Centre for Future Energy Storage Technologies at Deakin University will use Deakin Waurn Ponds’ Battery Technology Research and Innovation Hub (Bat-TRI Hub), as well as other existing facilities such as the Institute for Frontier Materials’ (IFM) world-class electrochemistry and NMR imaging labs, and Deakin’s Centre for Advanced Design in Engineering Training (CADET).

 Deakin Waurn Ponds’ Battery Technology Research and Innovation Hub (Bat-TRI Hub). Picture credit: Deakin University.
Deakin Waurn Ponds’ Battery Technology Research and Innovation Hub (Bat-TRI Hub). Picture credit: Deakin University.

Deakin Professor Maria Forsyth will serve as the centre’s director, coordinating six other senior Deakin researchers, along with investigators from The University of Melbourne, Monash University, Queensland University of Technology, University of South Australia and more than a dozen industry partners.

“This project is unapologetically future-focused and will help create the next generation of forward-thinking entrepreneurs. More than 20 scientists and engineers will be embedded in dynamic industry settings and will gain advanced skills in materials manufacture and energy storage device design and production,” Professor Forsyth said.

“The centre expects to create new knowledge and intellectual property in advanced energy materials, batteries and battery-control systems, helping small to medium-sized enterprises to take a global leadership role in advancing and producing new storage technologies.”