Monash Energy Team
Original Published Date: 
Monday, September 20, 2021

Full article issued by Monash University.

Simply by adding sugar, ARC-supported researchers from the Monash Energy Institute have created a longer-lasting, lighter, more sustainable rival to the lithium-ion batteries that are essential for aviation, electric vehicles and submarines.

The Monash team, assisted by the CSIRO, say that by using a glucose-based additive on the positive electrode they have managed to stabilise lithium-sulfur battery technology, long touted as the basis for the next generation of batteries.

'In less than a decade, this technology could lead to vehicles including electric buses and trucks that can travel from Melbourne to Sydney without recharging. It could also enable innovation in delivery and agricultural drones where light weight is paramount,' says researcher Professor Mainak Majumder, Associate Director of the Monash Energy Institute, and Director of the ARC Research Hub for Advanced Manufacturing with 2D Materials.

Test-cell prototypes constructed by the team have been shown to have a charge-discharge life of at least 1000 cycles, while still holding far more capacity than equivalent lithium-ion batteries. 'So each charge lasts longer, extending the battery’s life,' says lead researcher and PhD student Yingyi Huang. 'And manufacturing the batteries doesn’t require exotic, toxic, and expensive materials.'

The Lithium-sulfur Battery Research Program at Monash University has been supported by two ARC Discovery Projects grants and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. In addition, the work has also been supported by Cleanfuture Energy, Australia, an Australian subsidiary of the Enserv Group of Thailand.

Enserv Australia hopes to develop and manufacture the batteries in Australia, the world’s largest producer of lithium.  'We would be looking to use the technology to enter the growing market for electric vehicles and electronic devices,' says Mark Gustowski, Managing Director of Enserv Australia. 'We plan to make the first lithium-sulfur batteries in Australia using Australian lithium within about five years.'

Photo credit: 

Melbourne to Sydney on one charge: the new lithium-sulfur battery technology could store two to five times more energy. The Monash Energy Institute team (L-R): Mahdokht Shaibani, Mainak Majumder, Matthew Hill, Yingyi Huang. Credit: Monash University.