High-performance batteries to be made from new materials

A program to find applications for a new type of battery material has received $3 million in funding from the federal government’s Cooperative Research Centre Projects (CRC-P) program.

The project aims to find and test a new type of material for high performance batteries. Currently, these types of batteries require costly and difficult to source materials to store significant amounts of energy.

This project will attempt to utilise CalixFlash Calcination technology to create micron sized nano-electroactive materials for intercalation-based anodes and cathodes. Boron Molecular and Deakin will then collaborate to integrate the calcination technology with optimised ionic electrolytes, to make 10 kWh battery packs.

The partnership spans researchers at Deakin University’s Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM), and manufacturers Boron Molecular and Calix Pty Ltd, all based in Victoria.

The project is part of a worldwide drive to find a method of storing electricity for energy intensive applications.

“There is a global search for safe, low cost, high capacity, high performing batteries given the demand for high performance energy storage and electric vehicles,” said deputy director of IFM, Professor Maria Forsyth.

So far, similar batteries have relied upon rare earth materials, now researchers at many institutes and companies are looking for alternatives.

“The challenge for Australia is to develop a sustainable battery manufacturing industry that has global reach through process innovation,” said Forsyth.

The advantage of this technology will be its use of Australian materials.

“These materials will also have capacity to go into high performance supercapacitors which store charge like a battery and can dispense that charge very quickly,” said Professor Patrick Howlett, from IFM.

During the project, the batteries will undergo field testing. The first will occur with a linkage to small solar PV systems, while another will be as part of the Deakin Microgrid.

Going forward, the project will develop a blueprint for advanced manufacturing hub of nano-active materials, electrolytes, and packing technology.

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