Materials for Sustainable Energy Storage

Lithium-ion batteries are used in many devices, with over 1 billion Li-ion batteries produced per year for consumer electronics alone.

This huge number of batteries brings significant sustainability issues around materials, end-of-life, and recycling. Research under this Theme focusses on reducing the initial generation of waste through redesign of the battery devices using natural and reusable materials. The Hub will explore new sustainable electrode materials from natural and mineral materials such as quartz, biomass, and industry waste, including recycled silicon from used solar panels and lithium from other devices.Research will also aim to improve reliability by integrating energy conversion and storage devices into the same system.

Technologies for Safe and Reliable Energy Storage

Serious safety issues surrounding current lithium-ion batteries have been extensively reported.

These issues not only pose a real and substantial risk in any application containing significant quantities of batteries, but the perception of this risk can substantially hinder the uptake of the deployment of energy storage.This Theme will aim to address these safety issues via two approaches:
  1. development of new safe water-based electrolytes to replace the current organic solvent electrolyte;
  2. design and production of full solid-state batteries to substantially improve safety and reliability.
Outcomes will lead to improved safety of current battery technology, and allow for the development of new industry solutions for safe storage technologies.

Devices for New Energy Storage and Conversion Applications

Current lithium-ion batteries have unsatisfactory energy density and slow charging performance which cannot meet the increasing demands from applications including electric vehicles, portable devices (i.e. phones) and industry tools.

Research in this Theme will leverage research outcomes from Themes 1 and 2, alongside the development of novel devices and solutions, for new and improved storage and conversion technologies. New high-energy density and fast-charging batteries will be investigated including zinc-air, lithium-sulfur and zinc ion batteries.

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