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New Battery Tech to Potentially Power Phones for 5 Continuous Days

Monash University Lithium Sulphur Li S Battery
Photo Credit: Monash University

Researchers from Australia’s Monash University developed a battery that has the potential to power a phone for five continuous days.

It also has the potential to enable an electric vehicle to drive more than 1000km without needing to “refuel”.

According to a recent press release, the researchers are on the brink of commercialising the world’s most efficient lithium-sulphur (Li-S) battery, which could outperform current market leaders by more than four times.

This would power Australia and other global markets well into the future.

About the Initiative

Dr Mahdokht Shaibani, from the university’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, led an international research team that developed an ultra-high capacity Li-S battery.

It has better performance and less environmental impact than current lithium-ion products.

They already have an approved filed patent (PCT/AU 2019/051239) for their manufacturing process.

Also, prototype cells have been successfully fabricated by German R&D partners Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology.

Some of the world’s largest manufacturers of lithium batteries in China and Europe have expressed interest in upscaling production, with further testing to take place in Australia in early 2020.

More than $2.5 million in funding from government and international industry partners were awarded to the team so that they can trial the battery technology in cars and grids.

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.

Inspired by unique bridging architecture first recorded in processing detergent powders in the 1970s, the team engineered a method that created bonds between particles to accommodate stress and deliver a level of stability not seen in any battery to date.

Benefits of Lithium Sulphur (Li-S) Battery

This development was a breakthrough for the 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 $213 billion value chain of Australian lithium.

Moreover, it will revolutionise the Australian vehicle market and provide all Australians with a cleaner and more reliable energy market.

A plethora of benefits makes this new battery design attractive for future real-world applications. These are:

  1. Attractive performance
  2. Lower manufacturing costs
  3. An abundant supply of material
  4. Ease of processing
  5. Reduced environmental footprint

This approach favours high performance metrics and long cycle life. On top of that, it is also simple and extremely low-cost to manufacture, using water-based processes thereby leading to significant reductions in environmentally hazardous waste.

Other Battery-Related Initiatives

Meanwhile, OpenGov Asia reported on a highly flexible, high energy Textile Lithium Battery developed by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU).

The battery offers a more stable, durable and safe energy supply for wearable electronics with a myriad of applications. These include:

  1. Healthcare monitoring
  2. Intelligent textiles
  3. Smartphones
  4. Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking
  5. Internet of Things (IoT)

Laboratory tests conducted by the ITC team have proven the extremely high mechanical stability, durability and safety of the Textile Lithium Battery under deformation.

When the battery is repeatedly folded in half, twisted at different angles or freely crumpled, its voltage window remained unchanged.

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