Ever felt the urge to build a battery?
Now it is possible after the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) created Australia’s first lithium-ion battery at a purpose-built facility on Brisbane’s northside.
It took three years and $4 million to develop the facility, which can produce batteries similar to those used to power Tesla cars.
Peter Talbot from QUT’s Institute for Future Environments said the endeavour would hopefully kick-start an Australian battery manufacturing industry.
“At the moment we can take someone to our facility and within an hour or two show them how to produce a lithium battery, and they can take it away in a device to run a little torch or something — it’s not that hard,” Professor Talbot said.
“We get in raw material from Australian suppliers and we develop the chemicals that go into the batteries and we actually roll and make the batteries and test them ourselves.
“This process could be automated to enable Australia to have a competitive advantage in a manufacturing space that is currently dominated by China.”
Lithium ion batteries are one of the most popular type of rechargeable batteries, and are used in portable electronics from mobile phones, to power tools and drones.
The raw material — lithium — was already mined in Australia, and Professor Talbot said the facility could value-add to the mining industry.
“As the middle class in the ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) region grows, so too will the demand for lithium-ion battery operated goods,” he said.
“As more and more vehicles in the future are manufactured to run on battery power, the development of longer lasting batteries will be crucial to a vehicle’s overall efficiency and appeal to consumers.”
He said there had been enormous interest in QUT’s project.
“This is a good example of value from universities where we can interact with industry and help educate them and work with them to develop ongoing important industries in Australia,” Professor Talbot said.
“This research wouldn’t have been possible without the financial backing of the Australian and Malaysian governments and highlights the importance of international research partnerships in the efforts to solve global problems.”