CSIRO to co-develop high energy, highly safe EV batteries

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CSIRO partnership with Japan’s Piotrek aims to produce Australian-developed high energy, solid-state batteries for the electric vehicle market within five years.

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Australia could soon be producing locally developed high energy – and highly stable – batteries for the global electric vehicle market, with national science agency CSIRO announcing a collaboration with Japanese chemical manufacturer, Piotrek

The Australia-Japan partnership aims to fast-track the development of solid-state lithium batteries, which are not only higher energy (up to double) than their current lithium-ion counterparts, but also considered to be safer.

The “solid state” part of the equation means there are no volatile or flammable liquids inside the battery that can catch fire if the cell is damaged.

The collaboration announced by the CSIRO on Thursday would combine the research agency’s proprietary Reversible Addition-Fragmentation chain Transfer (RAFT) polymer technology and Piotrek’s Ion Conducting Polymers (ICP), to develop Solid Polymer Electrolytes (SPEs).

The overriding goal is to see Australian-developed solid-state battery technologies – targeted for use in electric vehicles among other things – commercialised globally within the next five years.

CSIRO Battery Research Leader, Dr Adam Best, said that with several companies already active in the field, solid state battery enabled devices could be in the market by 2025, if not sooner.

And he said the RAFT technology allows for the expansion of SPEs properties to different types of batteries and fuel cells, and could also significantly reduce the cost of device assembly and manufacture.

“This development will underpin the growth of high energy batteries for the electric vehicle market,” said CSIRO’s Dr John Chiefari, a co-inventor and developer of the RAFT polymer technology with Professors Maria Forsyth and Patrick Howlett from Deakin University’s BatTri Hub.

“By developing and exploiting disruptive technology platforms, we’re supporting the creation of new businesses and industries for Australia and the world.”

Director of CSIRO’s manufacturing arm, Dr Keith McLean, said the technologies developed through the Piotrek partnership would help capture emerging opportunities in local and global battery markets.

“CSIRO is committed to solving the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology, and developing the world’s safest and most efficient next-gen lithium ion batteries is just one of the ways we’re doing this,” he said.

CSIRO is also working with Piotrek to automate electrolyte processes using robots, and to license a new electrolyte recipe.

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