Research Programs

Energy Storage Group

Battery materials, hydrogen energy materials and fuel cell materials are playing an increasing role in modern society. They make portable electronic devices such as mobile phones and computers smaller and lighter. They also provide power for the new generation electric vehicles. The main interest of this group is to research and develop innovative technology for new generation energy storage materials with high energy density, long cycle life and low cost. The research programs are:

ARC Discovery Projects

Lithium-ion air batteries with non-flammable ionic liquid–based electrolytes

Project ID: DP140100401
Years Funded: 2014-2016
Chief Investigators: J. Z. Wang, J. Chen, S. L. Chou, H. K. Liu, H. S. Zhou, X. L. Wang
Project Description: The aim of this project is to develop rechargeable lithium-ion air batteries based on novel advanced materials and non-flammable ionic-liquid-based electrolytes for use in electric vehicles. The success of this project would make a significant contribution to improving the safety of typical lithium-air batteries. The expected outcomes include: establishing novel lithium-ion air battery electrochemical systems using selected advanced electrode materials and electrolytes which are developed in this proposal; and, understanding the degradation mechanisms of electrode materials in the novel lithium-ion air battery systems with different advanced characterisation methods.

Development of highly regenerable ammonia-borane and related boron nitride-based hydrides with low cost for hydrogen storage

Project ID: DP140102858
Years Funded: 2014-2016
Total Funding: $345,000
Chief Investigators: Prof. Z. P. Guo, Dr. Z. G. Huang, Prof. H. K. Liu, Dr. X. B. Yu, Dr. Q. F. Gu
Project Description: The project will design and synthesise novel boron-nitrogen hydrides. It will employ material design strategies, such as new synthesis techniques, dopant destabilisation, and dehydrogenation catalysts to design and experimentally validate novel multicomponent hydride systems with high storage capacities (above 9 wt% under near-ambient conditions) and high reversibility. The outcomes of this project will make a significant enhancement in the performance of solid state hydrogen storage materials and will deliver a viable storage technology for a range of fuel cell applications.

Potassium ion batteries for large scale renewable energy storage

Project ID: DP170102406
Total Funding: $493,500
Chief Investigators: Prof. Zai Ping Guo, Dr. Kosta Konstantinov, Prof. Xiong Wen Lou, Prof. Zhen Zhou
Project Description: The project aims to develop potassium ion batteries for renewable energy storage and conversion. Potassium ion batteries could be the most promising choice for large-scale electrical energy storage, particularly for renewable energy sources and smart electrical grids, due to their low cost, natural abundance and the advantages of potassium compared to lithium/sodium ion batteries. This study will research the electrochemical reactions and charge transfer pathway of electrode materials with excellent potassium ion storage performance. This project is expected to develop high performance potassium ion batteries and advance the prominence of Australia in the global renewable energy market.

Liquid-phase hydrogen carriers for energy storage and delivery

Project ID: DP170101773
Total Funding: $391,000
Chief Investigator: Dr. Zhenguo Huang, Prof. Hua Kun Liu, Dr. Haibo Yu, Prof. Xuebin Yu
Project Description: This project aims to overcome hydrogen storage and delivery issues by developing liquid-phase hydrogen storage materials with high hydrogen capacity, exceptional stability and that do not change phase during hydrogen evolution. This project will build on the recent synthesis of strategically important hydrogen storage compounds. The innovative liquid-phase hydrogen storage and delivery technology will enable effective usage of established liquid fuel distribution techniques and infrastructure throughout the country. The project would benefit renewable energy, chemical, and manufacturing industries, where new employment opportunities would be created.
 

ARC Future Fellowships

Lead-free bismuth based dielectric materials for energy storage

Project ID: FT140100698
Years Funded: 2014 -2018
Total Funding: $888,000
Chief Investigator: S. J. Zhang
Project Description: Electrical energy generation from renewable sources, such as solar, wind and geothermal, provide enormous potential for meeting future energy demands. However, the ability to store and control this energy for miniaturisation and modularisation in applications requiring a wide temperature usage range is a limiting factor that needs to be addressed. This project aims to develop new bismuth-based lead-free dielectric materials for improving the storage density of high temperature multilayer ceramic capacitors for sustainable applications in the energy and vehicle industries, where high temperature stability and high volumetric efficiency are crucial.

High-voltage electrode materials for lithium-ion batteries

Project ID: FT160100251
Total Funding: $652,000
Chief Investigator: Dr. Wei Kong Pang
Project Description: This project aims to establish a complete battery research system and develop high-voltage electrode materials for lithium-ion batteries through mechanistic understanding obtained in operando studies. Lithium-ion batteries are the most promising choice for portable electronic devices, including electric vehicles, due to their high power and energy performance compared with other battery technologies. The success of this project is expected to advance fundamental understanding of lithium-ion batteries, and provide techniques to develop a promising high-energy and high-power battery system.
 

ARC DECRA

Carbon-based catalysts for polysulphide redox reactions in lithium-silicon batteries

Project ID: DE170100871
Total Funding: $360,000
Chief Investigator: Dr. Ji Liang
Project Description: This project aims to develop surface-engineered carbons as multifunctional catalysts to accelerate the polysulphide redox reactions for lithium-silicon batteries. High capacity storage of electricity is the key to efficient use of renewable and clean energy resources and the development of emission-free technologies. This project will provide high-performance lithium-silicon batteries with high energy density, high efficiency, and long life. Its success is expected to contribute to energy technologies, reduce the dependence of household and industrial energy consumption on fossil fuels, enhance Australia’s long-term viability, and bring economic, environmental, and social benefits to the nation.

Room-temperature sodium-sulphur batteries

Project ID: DE170100928
Total Funding: $360,000
Chief Investigator: Dr. Yunxiao Wang
Project Abstract: This project aims to develop silicon-based cathode materials for high-performance RT-sodium/sulphur batteries. These are expected to improve the sulphur electroactivity with sodium and supress the shuttle effect, achieving high energy density and cycling stability. This project will accelerate the sluggish electrochemical reactions between sulphur and sodium by embedding sulphur in hollow mesoporous carbon nanospheres, and modify the surface of the mesoporous carbon nanospheres’ host. A superior RT-sodium/sulphur battery with high energy density, a long cycling life, and stationary storage has potential to shift fossil fuels towards renewable energy system to power the economy in the long run.

Electrode materials for sodium storage

Project ID: DE170101426 
Chief Investigator: Dr. Chao Wu
Total Funding: $360,000
Project Abstract: This project aims to develop phosphide-based electrode materials for high-performance sodium-ion batteries (SIBs) with high reversible capacity, superior rate capability and long cycle life. SIBs have great advantages in terms of low cost and infinite sodium resources, but the large size of the sodium-ion creates kinetic problems and a significant volume change for electrode materials. This project aims to design and synthesise phosphide-carbon hybrids with multi-scale, multi-dimension and hierarchical architectures as electrodes to overcome these problems. Expected outcomes include understanding the sodium-storage mechanisms, the size effect, and the architecture role for phosphide-based electrodes.

Nanostructured metal hydrides for practical hydrogen storage applications

Project ID: DE170100362
Total Funding: $360,000
Chief Investigator: Dr. Guanglin Xia
Project Abstract: This project aims to synthesise nanostructured metal hydrides with particle size smaller than 5 nm. The practical applications of metal hydrides as advanced solid-state hydrogen storage materials require substantial knowledge and delicate engineering of materials on the nanoscale. Combined with controllable modification on the nanoscale, the optimised metal hydrides will enhance the performance of hydrogen storage materials. This project is expected to advance understanding of the technologies of metal hydrides as hydrogen storage materials and develop practical applications of metal hydrides in storage tanks for fuel cells. Hydrogen energy could also reduce carbon dioxide emissions and alleviate air pollution.

 

 Auto CRC Research Projects

High energy anode materials for lithium ion batteries

Project ID: 1-117
Years Funded: 2015 - 2017
Total Funding: $380,000
Chief Investigators: H. K. Liu, Z. P. Guo, J. Z. Wang, J. H. Kim, K. Konstantinov, S. L. Chou
Industry Partner: Baosteel Company
Project Summary: The global market for energy storage, including lithium ion batteries (LIBs) for electric vehicles (EVs), will experience unprecedented growth in the next decade. The challenges of EV LIBs are related to the materials used in the LIBs. This project aims to study high energy anode materials with reduced cost and improved safety to meet the requirements for the next generation of LIBs and make them more suitable for EVs.
 

 

Coal Services – Health and Safety Trust


Diesel-Free Environment for Underground Coal Mines

Years Funded: 2015 - 2017
Total Funding: $325,000
Chief Investigators: S. X. Dou, K. W. See
Project Summary: The potential for adverse health effects arising from occupational exposure to diesel particulate has been the subject of intense scientific debate for the past 25 years. Diesel exhaust (DE) and diesel particulate matter (DPM) in underground mines are a health risk for workers, who can suffer acute and chronic health conditions (e.g. asthma, nausea, lung inflammation, headaches, eye and nose irritation, cardiopulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer) through exposure to NOx (nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide (NO2)). Also, noise levels in the proximity of diesel-vehicle operation – particularly in confined settings –impair the hearing of operators following many hours of exposure. This project takes the stance that from a regulatory perspective emission prevention, not reduction, should be the ultimate policy goal. We aims to remove barriers to the adoption of electric-drive diesel free general purpose vehicles in underground mines, which have clear benefit to Australian mines via lower operating costs and cleaner environments for workers.
 

Baosteel Australia Joint Research Centre

High energy anode materials for lithium ion batteries

Project ID: BA14006
Years Funded: 2015 - 2017
Total Funding: $200,000
Chief Investigators: H. K. Liu, Z. P. Guo, J. Z. Wang, J. H. Kim, K. Konstantinov, S. L. Chou
Project Summary: The global market for energy storage, including lithium ion batteries (LIBs) for electric vehicles (EVs), will experience unprecedented growth in the next decade. The challenges of EV LIBs are related to the materials used in the LIBs. This project aims to study high energy anode materials with reduced cost and improved safety to meet the requirements for the next generation of LIBs and make them more suitable for EVs.
 

 

 

Last reviewed: 24 November, 2016