CSIRO and Piotrek partner on solid-state batteries

Tuesday, 17 September, 2019

CSIRO and Piotrek partner on solid-state batteries

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has formed an agreement with Japanese specialist chemical manufacturer Piotrek that will see Australian-developed battery technologies commercialised globally within the next five years.

The two organisations have partnered to develop the next generation of solid polymer electrolytes (SPEs) for lithium batteries, utilising CSIRO’s proprietary RAFT (reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer) polymer technology and Piotrek’s ion-conducting polymers (ICP). These battery technologies will be suitable for portable electronic devices, drones and automotive vehicles — and should address a critical safety need with lithium batteries by helping prevent battery fires.

“This partnership will help Piotrek make our batteries safer and more efficient, and with our industry reach we will get our advanced batteries to the market faster,” said Piotrek General Manager Ihei Sada.

“Together we will develop the world’s safest, longer life solid-state high-energy battery.”

Solid-state batteries are a class of lithium batteries that typically use a lithium metal anode — the highest specific energy of all battery anodes — resulting in batteries with twice as much energy as today’s lithium battery technologies. Additionally, there are no volatile or flammable liquids inside a solid-state battery that can catch fire at low temperatures if the cell is damaged.

CSIRO Battery Research Leader Dr Adam Best said that with several companies already active in this field, there are proposals to have solid-state battery-enabled devices in the market by 2025, if not sooner.

“Our RAFT technology allows us to tune our SPEs’ properties to expand their versatility for different types of batteries and fuel cells, and will also significantly reduce the cost of device assembly and manufacture,” Dr Best said.

CSIRO’s Dr John Chiefari, co-inventor and co-developer of the RAFT polymer technology, said the collaboration with Piotrek will bring together battery technologies from both organisations to fast-track the development of an SPE for use in high energy (4.5–5 V) lithium batteries for electric vehicles and drones.

“This development will underpin the growth of high-energy batteries for the electric vehicle market,” he said.

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

Image caption: CSIRO’s lithium battery experience spans 35 years, with expertise in characterisation, fabrication and testing of lithium-ion and lithium metal batteries. Image ©Nick Pitsas.

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