September 20, 2017 | News Brief | Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researchers have produced Australia’s first lithium-ion battery after establishing the country’s only facility capable of such manufacturing. The facility is built within the university’s pilot plant precinct at Banyo on Brisbane’s northside.
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.
“Importantly, as part of this project we identified the best lithium-based powders to use to create a battery of the highest energy-efficiency standards possible,” Talbot said. “The powder is a combination of lithium and other compounds. We tested various compositions of chemicals until we were satisfied that we had achieved the best powder possible. Our process enables us to rapidly test and prototype rechargeable lithium-ion batteries of various shapes and sizes.”
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,” said Talbot. “As the middle class in the ASEAN region grows, so too will the demand for lithium-ion battery operated goods. 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.”
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.