QUT researchers have produced Australia’s first lithium-ion batteries after establishing the country’s only facility capable of such manufacturing.
- QUT has developed Australia’s first pilot facility to produce commercial grade lithium-ion batteries.
- QUT has Australia’s only facility capable of such production with the nation’s only low humidity electro-manufacturing dry rooms.
- QUT has developed processes to produce lithium-based powder to make extremely safe and efficient batteries.
- The batteries produced are the same format as those used to power Tesla cars.
- The facility can rapidly prototype new battery formulations and cell types.
- These facilities can be used to help manufacturers kick-start an Australian battery manufacturing industry.
- The facility is built within QUT’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,” he 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 enable 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.
“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.”
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 build the lithium-ion batteries, the university could develop batteries for specific commercial applications.