Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, and Japanese specialist chemical manufacturer, Piotrek, are partnering to commercialize Australian-developed battery technologies globally within the next five years. The collaboration will enable the next generation of lithium battery technologies for portable electronic devices, drones and automotive vehicles, as well as address a critical safety need with lithium batteries by helping prevent battery fires.
The two organizations have partnered to develop the next generation of solid polymer electrolytes (SPEs) for lithium batteries using CSIRO’s proprietary RAFT (Reversible Addition-Fragmentation chain Transfer) polymer technology and Piotrek’s Ion Conducting Polymers (ICP).
RAFT is a form of controlled free radical polymerization that enables the design of polymers with enhanced properties. RAFT can be used with a wide range of monomers and reaction conditions and gives unprecedented control over polymer size, composition and architecture. It is based on scalable manufacturing processes that use conventional processing equipment.
RAFT polymers can be synthesized with:
Predetermined molecular weight and narrow molecular weight distributions, resulting in more homogeneous polymer structures requiring less downstream processing;
Reactive terminal groups that can be purposely manipulated to build in additional functionality in the polymer backbone; and
Complex architecture, including graft, star and gradient polymers.
Piotrek’s ICP matrix technology consists of a solid electrolyte tailored with a coating agent, controlled grain boundary and interfacial resistance.
Piotrek General Manager Ihei Sada said combining the CSIRO SPE with Piotrek ICP will give his company a big market advantage.
This partnership will help Piotrek make our batteries safer and more efficient, and with our industry reach, we will get our advanced batteries to the market faster. Together we will develop the world’s safest, longer life solid state high energy battery.—Ihei Sada
Our RAFT technology allows us to tune our SPEs’ properties to expand their versatility for different types of batteries and fuel cells, and will also significantly reduce the cost of device assembly and manufacture.—Dr. Best
CSIRO’s Dr John Chiefari is a co-inventor and co-developer of the RAFT polymer technology, and worked with Professors Maria Forsyth and Patrick Howlett from Deakin University’s BatTri Hub to develop the SPEs.
Dr. Chiefari said the collaboration with Piotrek will bring together battery technologies from both organizations to fast- track the development of an SPE for use in high energy (4.5-5V) Lithium batteries for electric vehicles and drones.
CSIRO is also working with Piotrek to automate electrolyte processes using robots, and to license a new electrolyte recipe.