Introducing a smaller, lighter lithium battery

24 October, 2023

Monash University has pioneered a lithium-sulphur battery design that is both smaller and lighter. Most significantly it reduces the need for lithium, nickel, and cobalt.

This innovative design not only diminishes lithium consumption but also boasts increased energy density, longer lifespan, and a price tag that’s expected to be half that of conventional lithium-ion batteries.

Declan McNamara, a PhD student and co-author of the research paper unveiling this new battery, shed light on the technology. He explained how the thin polymer coating plays a pivotal role by acting as a framework for lithium, enhancing its charge and discharge capabilities.

McNamara noted, “The polymer contains tiny holes less than a nanometre in size – one billionth of a meter – which allow lithium ions to move freely while blocking other chemicals that would attack the lithium.

This coating is a step towards highly efficient, easily manufactured lithium-sulphur batteries.”

This breakthrough coating represents a substantial leap toward the development of highly efficient and easily manufacturable lithium-sulphur batteries.

According to Monash professor Matthew Hill, the potential applications for this technology in the renewables sector are immense.

He emphasised, “The market for electric vehicles, drones, and electronic devices is on a steep growth pattern, and this research is commercially ready for manufacturing to support that growth.”

“Producing more economical and environmentally sensitive battery options in Australia would be a great use of this technology, and we look forward to working with commercial partners to develop and manufacture this technology.”

There is a surge in demand for critical minerals to achieve net-zero targets. Therefore various production and infrastructure projects are gaining momentum across the country.

The Northern Territory is poised to house a pioneering lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) battery cathode manufacturing facility at the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct in Darwin.

This facility is the first of its kind on a commercial scale in Australia. It is designed to produce 30,000 tonnes per annum of LFP powder. This powder can find application in electric vehicles and energy storage batteries. It will contribute to the nation’s transition toward cleaner and more sustainable energy solutions.