Our latest award winner tackles the climate crisis one organic electrode at a time

Australian Battery Society – Energy Renaissance Innovator Award

At Energy Renaissance, we are proud to sponsor and support the winners of the Australian Battery SocietyEnergy Renaissance Innovator Award. We are thrilled to introduce you to another of our award recipients, Matthew Teusner who is a PhD student at UNSW.  His work is focussed on the understanding and development of novel organic electrodes for Li-ion batteries. Working specifically with organic electrode materials is an exciting opportunity to be involved in the emergence of a whole new field of battery technology. Matthew plans to use the award to help fund the patenting and potential commercialization of his work.

Lets have 5 minutes with Matthew!

Tell us about your research and what inspired you to work on this topic?

I am in the 3rd year of my PhD, and my project has focused on development of next generation anode materials for alkali ion batteries. The main goal of goal of the project is to develop new, green, and renewable anode materials that give better performance than the current technologies. Additionally, characterisation of the materials prior to and during cell cycling has helped to grow the understanding of the system, ultimately allow better rational design of new systems.

The inspiration for my project has come from a variety of sources. Foremost is the absolute need for development of renewable energy infrastructure to combat the current reliance on fossil fuels and the growing climate crisis. More personally, the drive for understanding how a system works, and application of that knowledge to improve upon that system is something I have always been very passionate about, and this is the foundation of my project. Finally, the knowledge, passion, enthusiasm and endless excitement of my PhD supervisor, Neeraj, is a source of everyday inspiration.

What is the most exciting thing you are doing as part of your studies?

The most exciting thing is that we are currently in the process of patenting some of the discoveries of my project. This process has allowed me to gain insight into the industrial and commercial aspect of technology development, which is something quite uncommon for PhD students. Subsequently, this led to involvement in collaborative projects with Australian industry partners which, has helped to greatly expand my knowledge of battery systems and applications. Specifically, the understanding of the differences in research approach and desired outcomes of industry and academia has been incredibly helpful in grounding my research progression path. I was able to further develop this perspective through involvement with the ANSTO National Graduate Innovation Forum, which partnered a group of PhD students with an industrial partner who had an industrial challenge to overcome.

How has the Energy Renaissance Innovator Award funding helped you?

The Energy Renaissance Innovator Award has helped fund my attendance at the International Meeting for Lithium-Ion Batteries 2022 (IMLB). IMLB is one of the largest global battery conferences and features both academic and industrial speakers. Additionally, the industrial participants range across the entire battery manufacturing process; from raw materials sourcing to end user application. This presents the opportunity for me to further grow both my industrial and academic knowledge base, as well as meet people from all over the field.

What impact do you think your studies will have on energy storage in the future, especially for the commercialisation of your energy storage technology in Australia?

The work that we are patenting will be further developed, and ultimately a commercial prototype will be produced. Regardless of final outcome, this process will involve collaboration and co-development with Australian battery industry partners. I am excited about taking something I have developed in the lab to market.