Making Safer Lithium Ion Batteries

In 2013, Boeing grounded its fleet of new 787 Dreamliners because of Li battery fires

Since 2013, at least 3 Tesla Model S luxury cars have caught fire due to the Li batteries. In October 2013, Tesla lost 6% of its market value in one day when the 3rd fire was reported

In 2016, Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones were banned from airplanes because they spontaneously caught fire due to a fault with their Li batteries

CSIRO is working to prevent Li battery fires by developing new materials, called Solid Polymer Electrolytes (SPEs), using our proprietary RAFT polymer technology. These SPEs are block copolymers that combine the desirable properties of polymers and ionic liquids with one block providing high conductivity; and the other block providing mechanical strength to the electrolyte. These SPEs are able to provide conductivity but due to the mechanical strength can also replace traditional thin film separators in devices thus opening the possibility to reduce the cost of device assembly and manufacture.

The properties of these SPEs can be readily and efficiently tuned making them versatile electrolyte materials for other types of batteries technologies, fuel cells and other applications including binders and capacitors.

These materials are being evaluated by some of the leading electrolyte and device manufacturers.

CSIRO has collaborated with Deakin University to create The Battery Research Technology and Innovation Hub – BatTRI HUB – to bring together CSIRO’s expertise in advanced polymer materials with Deakin’s research into energy materials.

The team includes: Dr John Chiefari (Project Lead), Dr Kristine Barlow, Dr Liz Williams, Mr Cameron Way and Ms Julia Krstina