Researchers at Victoria’s Monash University has created what they claim is the world’s most efficient lithium-sulphur battery which can power a smartphone for 5 continuous days.
Dr Mahdokht Shaibani from Monash’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering led a research team that developed the battery, which could outperform current market leaders by more than four times and power Australia and other global markets into the future.
Dr Shaibani and the team are on the brink of commercialising the battery and have an approved patent for their manufacturing process. Prototype cells have also been successfully fabricated by German research and development partners Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology.
Monash said some of the world’s largest manufacturers of lithium ion batteries in China and Europe have expressed interest in upscaling production with further testing in cars and solar grids to take place in Australia in early 2020.
Monash’s professor Mainak Majumder said this development was a breakthrough for Australian industry and could transform the way phones, cars, computers and solar grids are manufactured in the future.
“Successful fabrication and implementation of Li-S batteries in cars and grids will capture a more significant part of the estimated $123 billion value chain of Australian lithium and will revolutionise the Australian vehicle market and provide all Australians with a cleaner and more reliable energy market,” he said.
The researchers have received more than $2.5 million from government and international industry partners to trial this battery technology in cars and grids from this year.
Monash said that using the same materials in standard lithium-ion batteries, researchers reconfigured the design of sulphur cathodes so they could accommodate higher stress loads without a drop in overall capacity or performance.
The team engineered a method that create bonds between particles to accommodate stress and deliver a level of stability not seen in any battery to date.
Associate professor Matthew Hill said that this approach not only favours high performance metrics and a long cycle life, but is also extremely low-cost to manufacture using water-based processes and can lead to significant reductions in environmentally hazardous waste.