Tag Archives: batteries

Fuel for the future

Cooking with a hydrogen-powered barbeque

The need to shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energy technologies is becoming more urgent, and Australia’s trading partners are demanding low-emission energy sources.

Electricity production from renewables can be variable, and any excess electricity must be stored for use on days with less wind or sun. Battery systems are used for storage, but they have limitations.

An alternative is to store energy in the form of hydrogen.

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From the ocean floor to batteries—partners in energy

Heading into deep water

Perth researchers help Chevron keep oil and gas flowing smoothly

Out in the Gulf of Mexico Chevron are operating a $7.5 billion platform that’s recovering oil and gas from two-kilometre-deep ocean.

It’s the largest and deepest operation in the Gulf, with over 146km of pipeline bringing oil and gas to refineries.

But pipelines operating at extreme depths in cold water and crushing pressure are prone to blockage. University of Western Australia researchers are helping Chevron keep oil and gas flowing through deep-water pipes.

Continue reading From the ocean floor to batteries—partners in energy

From car batteries to grid storage

There’s still life in lead batteries. East Penn Manufacturing operates the largest single-site, lead-acid battery manufacturing facility in the world in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

They argue that their new lead batteries are 99 per cent recyclable and ideal for large-scale storage.

To prove it, they’re developing a 3MW power storage system using the UltraBattery technology invented by Australia’s CSIRO.

By combining lead-acid technology with a supercapacitor, the UltraBattery not only charges and discharges rapidly, but lasts four to five times longer than an ordinary battery.

Joining the race for better, safer lithium batteries

Commercialising the technology or the next generation of lithium batteries is the target for a team of Indonesian and Australian scientists, who are backed by battery manufacturer PT Nipress Tbk.

Lithium batteries allow for a large amount of energy to be packed into a small space. But they’re costly compared to single use ‘disposable’ batteries, and have special requirements for transportation and storage.

Continue reading Joining the race for better, safer lithium batteries

Reinventing catalysts

Professor Thomas Maschmeyer is working to integrate new battery and solar cell technologies into the walls and roofs of new houses, and to transform the somewhat ‘black art’ of catalysis—the process that cracks crude oil into useful fuels, oils and chemicals at every refinery. He has already helped to create over 200 new jobs with four spin-out companies.

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The walls and roof are battery

Lithium batteries have transformed power storage—from smartphones to electric cars and submarines. But like every battery their chemical composition changes through every charge cycle.

Lithium ions sitting in layers of graphite move between electrodes and change the oxidation state of, magnesium oxide, for example. The chemical rearrangements cause the graphite and oxide layers to physically expand and contract by up to 15 per cent at every cycle, cracking and detaching from the electrodes.

Continue reading The walls and roof are battery

Foldable batteries and scaffolds for muscle

Patented University of Wollongong technology is being used to create foldable batteries and textiles that are super strong, light, can repel water, and act as sensors.

Australian company Imagine Intelligent Materials has a commercial licensing deal to use the graphene manufacturing technology, developed at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) at the University of Wollongong.

Continue reading Foldable batteries and scaffolds for muscle

New light on storing energy

Solving the problem of how to store energy is essential for a future run on renewables.

That’s why promising materials for hydrogen fuel cells and high capacity, long-lived batteries are being explored at the atomic level by the Australian Synchrotron.


Australian Synchrotron scientist Dr Qinfen Gu is investigating a new class of hydrogen storage materials being developed by scientists at the University of Wollongong and their international collaborators.Qinfen is using the powerful X-rays of the synchrotron to observe and analyse the structure of these materials. Continue reading New light on storing energy

Tracking lithium for better batteries

Imagine a mobile phone, gaming gadget or laptop with a battery that never needs replacing, or electric cars powered by batteries that are as fast to recharge as it is to refill your car with petrol.

Neeraj Sharma prepares a sample battery in the glove box. Credit: ANSTO
Neeraj Sharma prepares a sample battery in the glove box. Credit: ANSTO

Researchers at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) are unlocking the secret inner workings of lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries to develop better, safer portable power.
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A step towards an everlasting battery

Imagine a future where recharging your tablet could be as easy as typing a tweet—where portable electronic devices power themselves without ever plugging into the grid.

Pushing towards an everlasting battery
Electricity is generated as a force is applied to a piezoelectric film. Credit: Dr Daniel J. White
Researchers at RMIT University, Melbourne have assessed the capacity of piezoelectric films—thin layers that turn mechanical pressure into electricity—to do this.

The study is the first to evaluate how piezoelectric thin films, a thousandth of a millimetre thick, perform at the molecular level, precisely measuring the level of electrical voltage and current—and therefore, power—that could be generated.
Continue reading A step towards an everlasting battery