Big ideas and innovations to advance energy storage in Australia

Australia’s energy storage market is brimming with big ideas and innovative thinkers that could steer the future direction of where the country is heading as a global clean energy industry leader.

The winners of the inaugural Australian Battery Society (ABS) Energy Renaissance Innovator Award has uncovered a treasure trove of innovative problem solvers who are looking to examine scientific and engineering challenges of emerging battery chemistries and how Australia can commercialise novel energy storage applications.

Nine award winners ranging from PhD candidates to post-doctoral researchers from leading universities in Australia have received an award of $2,500 each toward their endeavours.

Award winners can use this funding for investigative projects, to attend conferences or undertake research with a company or research organisation to further the research and development of electrochemical energy storage.

This three-year sponsorship agreement with the ABS and Energy Renaissance will enable the next generation of talent for the energy storage industry by enhancing their knowledge and providing a pathway for critical thinking to explore a range of areas that will advance Australia’s position as a global leader in the battery industry.

Energy Renaissance congratulates our inaugural Innovator Award winners;

Mojtaba Eftekharnia, a PhD student at Deakin University, plans to use the award to fund a three week visit to a battery prototyping facility at Coventry University and Faradion Limited, a sodium-ion battery manufacturer in the United Kingdom. He will apply what he has learnt from this visit to the manufacturing of Lithium-metal batteries at Deakin.

Rory McCallum, a PhD student at Swinburne University and CSIRO is working on the development of elevated temperature electrolytes for sustainable lithium-ion batteries. Coming from a background where he was formerly an electrician installing home batteries, Rory has chosen to pursue his postgraduate study in energy storage. The award will go towards funding the completion of his training to be fully accredited in Grid-connected Battery Storage Design and Installation.

Thushan Pathirana, is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Melbourne who is studying Silicon/Graphite composite anodes for Li-ion batteries. He is planning to visit a gigafactory/pilot battery plant to see how lithium-ion batteries are being produced on a large-scale. Thushan hopes to gain insights into challenges the battery manufacturing industry is currently facing and examine improvements that can be made through academic research that can be applied in the industry.

Matthew Teusner, a PhD student at UNSW is focused on understanding and developing novel organic electrodes for Li-ion batteries. He works specifically with organic electrode materials and believes there is an exciting opportunity to be involved in the emergence of a whole new field in battery technology. Matthew will use the award funding for patents and the potential commercialisation of his work.

Lisa Djuandhi, a UNSW PhD student is working on the optimisation of Lithium-Sulfur cells using copolymeric frameworks. The award will further insights that she gained from her research to examine a tailored approach for designing future copolymeric Li-S cathodes. Lisa seeks to explore how these copolymeric cathodes can offer new perspectives to SEI construction and strategies to minimise active material loss.

Jason Wooi, a UNSW PhD student works on the cathode-electrolyte interface in sodium-ion batteries (SIB). The cathode-electrolyte interface (CEI) is poorly understood in lithium-ion batteries and rarely looked at in SIBs. Jason will use the award to investigate alternative approaches to increase the understanding of the CEI and how its performance can be optimised.

Kalani Periyapperuma, a post-doctoral researcher at Deakin University is studying future electrolyte systems for lithium battery technologies with high Nickel Manganese Cobalt oxide (NMC) cathode materials. He plans to use the award to travel and present his work at the 242nd Electrochemical Society Meeting in Atlanta, United States and to initiate discussions on electrolyte requirements for both existing and future battery markets with industry and academic experts.

Md Masud Rana is a postdoctoral research and development scientist. He will use the award funding to pursue a project on functionalised microporous highly conductive materials to enable high areal capacity and long run lithium sulphur batteries (LSB) at the University of Queensland. The ultimate target is to achieve high-performance LSBs at high sulphur loading to achieve high areal capacity and promote its implementation in electric vehicles.

Junnan Hao, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Adelaide is working on the optimisation of aqueous Zinc-ion batteries (ZIB). He will use the award to fund the design of high-safety wearable aqueous-based ZIBs. These high-energy-density wearable ZIBs will be designed to power wearable medical devices and will significantly enrich the family of wearable medical devices that play a pivotal role in health monitoring.

Some of these award winners will present their findings at the 21st International Meeting on Lithium Batteries (IMLB) that will be held in Sydney from 26 June to 1 July 2022. Applications for the 2023 Energy Renaissance Innovator Award is expected to commence in in late October, 2022.