Australian-first lithium-ion battery facility could be the basis for new industry

QUT researchers have produced Australia’s first lithium-ion battery that could provide the basis for a competitive Australian lilthium-ion manufacturing industry.

Professor Peter Talbot from QUT’s Institute for Future Environments said the batteries were based on commercial battery formats comparable to those used to power Tesla vehicles. He said that as part of the project, the best lithium-based powders were identified to create a battery of the highest energy-efficiency standards possible.

The development was undertaken in a pilot facility at QUT with the nation’s only low humidity electro-manufacturing dry rooms.

Professor Talbot said the powder is a combination of lithium and other compounds arrived at after testing various compositions of chemicals.

“Our process enables us to rapidly test and prototype rechargeable lithium-ion batteries of various shapes and sizes.”

He said the research could be used to kick start a commercial lithium-ion battery manufacturing industry in Australia, with the batteries being one of the most popular types of rechargeable batteries used in portable electronics from mobile phones, to power tools and drones.

“This process could be automated to enable Australia to have a competitive advantage in a manufacturing space that is currently dominated by China.

The Australia-first battery is the outcome of a three-year $4 million project, funded by the Auto Cooperative Research Centre and conducted in conjunction with the Malaysia Automotive Institute.

“As more and more vehicles in the future are manufactured to run on battery power, the development of longer-lasting batteries will be crucial to a vehicle’s overall efficiency and appeal to consumers,” Professor Talbot said.

Lithium is mined in several countries including Australia and Professor Talbot said the facility could value-add to the mining industry as miners could have their materials validated at the plant.

Professor Talbot said the technology and processes developed at QUT as part of the project were suitable for use by any commercial battery manufacturing company.

He said now that QUT had developed the purpose-built facilities needed to produce the lithium-ion batteries the university could develop batteries for specific commercial applications.

“We will be able to purpose build the most efficient batteries possible to power any number of devices and products including some of QUT’s key robots.”

Infrastructure built at QUT’s Banyo facility to enable the project includes Australia’s only electro-manufacturing room with zero humidity.

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