Screen-printed batteries for portable devices
Researchers at The University of Queensland (UQ) and UNSW have received a grant that will allow them to further develop technology from battery energy storage firm Printed Energy — technology that could result in the realisation of ultrathin, flexible, screen-printed batteries for cheap portable devices and intermittent renewable energy.
Backed by energy innovator and philanthropist Trevor St Baker, Printed Energy is a Brisbane company with patented technologies in printing batteries and photovoltaics, and a laboratory in Arizona focused on energy storage and materials science. The company’s solid-state batteries are a thin, flexible format — printed in a roll-to-roll process like a newspaper — that can be adapted to almost any shape.
“The highly innovative and unique nature of this technology makes it ideal for powering sensors, devices for the Internet of Things, disposable healthcare devices and eventually, even for large-scale application to help manage the intermittent nature of electricity generated by solar panels,” said Rodger Whitby, CEO of Printed Energy and the St Baker Energy Innovation Fund.
The first applications of the technology will be in small-scale devices, with development work in large-scale uses to be explored by the partners over the next three years, relying on Printed Energy’s proprietary designs. UQ’s Dow Centre will coordinate the research effort, with UQ’s Lianzhou Wang and UNSW’s Da-Wei Wang driving the development.
“Storage has been the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to renewable energy,” said Mark Hoffman, UNSW’s Dean of Engineering. “The world is crying out for storage solutions, and this partnership has the potential to deliver on that urgent need. What’s exciting is that this technology also has immediate applications in wearables and small-scale devices.”
Chris Greig, director of the Dow Centre, is excited about the potential of the technology.
“Our mission is to foster and facilitate advances in science and engineering which are technologically, economically and socially sustainable,” he said. “This project fits the bill perfectly and the range of applications is probably only limited by our imaginations.”
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