Our research into energy storage technologies and devices falls under the following three platforms:

Platform 1: New energy materials

Research in this platform focuses on commercial-scale production of materials, specifically for electrolytes and high energy density electrodes.


Development of New Ionic Electrolytes for Energy Storage Devices

This project involves synthesis of new ionic liquids and organic ionic plastic crystals. The thermal, transport and ion dynamic properties of the new materials are then assessed to determine which are the most promising materials to take forward for electrochemical studies. Working with industry partner Boron Molecular, the project has identified several promising new electrolyte materials.

Contact: Anna Warrington

Synthesis of Ionic Quasi-Block Copolymers Electrolytes for Next Generation Batteries

 This project is part of an ongoing collaboration between Deakin University and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) looking at investigating novel ionic block copolymer electrolyte materials for next generation batteries. It focuses on the development of a new synthetic protocol aimed at reducing the cost and waste associated with these materials. To assess the new polymers, known as quasi-blocks, they are compared to their standard block counterparts with regards to their mechanical, thermal, electrochemical and morphological properties.

 Contact: Greg Rollo Walker

 Investigation of nanostructures of high energy density anode materials for lithium-ion batteries

Nanostructured composites of silicon and graphite show promise as battery as packing materials. However, these materials are difficult to access in large quantities and exhibit performance issues. This project is investigating the use of rice husk – a plant waste material containing about 20% silica – to use in a composite anode with enhanced capacity, consisting of silicon, silica, silicon carbide and carbon in various proportions. With better understanding, additional metal oxide compounds will be designed and incorporated in the composite anodes for optimised performance.

Contact: Jasreet Kaur

Fluorinated borate anion electrolytes for sodium batteries
This project investigates the applicability of novel fluorinated borate anions in electrolytes for sodium-metal, and sodium-ion batteries. The novel salts are synthesised and purified in-house and physically and electrochemically characterised. The novel anions have shown improvements over conventional electrolyte materials, improving salt stability and electrochemical performance of sodium battery systems.

Contact: Dale Duncan

 Green polymers for battery circular economy

This project focuses on synthesising and screening water-soluble polymeric binders for Li-ion batteries. Currently, energy storage technologies use polymeric binders such as PVDF which are soluble in toxic solvents like NMP, but by modifying the chemical composition of the binder it is possible to attain polymers which are soluble in aqueous media while maintaining battery performance. Acrylate-based polymers will be central to the project.

Contact: Ana Clara Rolandi


Platform 2: Energy storage devices and systems

This platform focuses on design and manufacture of new energy storage devices and components, including advanced Li ion, supercapacitors and solid state Li and Na batteries, with improved rate capability, capacity and safety. New manufacturing technologies explored include robotic battery assemblers and printable electrolytes for flexible and conformal devices.

Structural supercapacitors based on novel polymer electrolytes

Using conducting polymers and ionic liquids to construct a composite electrolyte for structural supercapacitor applications. Simultaneously the project explores the use of CNT based electrodes for the construction of a functioning device.

Contact: Anto Puthussery Varghese

Investigation of multifunctional pregtronic energy storage devices embedded in load bearing composite structures

This project will investigate the structural integration of energy storage devices within load bearing aerospace composite structures. The investigation will focus on supercapacitors as the energy storage technology where new materials should be developed, enabling the simple integration of these devices into structural composites without significantly deteriorating their mechanical properties.

The objective of the project is to create load-bearing aerospace parts with integrated functional energy storage devices which can withstand the load requirements of the part. The electrochemical properties of the supercapacitor and mechanical properties of the composite part will indicate the performance of the new technology.

Contact: Ben Mapleback

Development of Organic Electrolytes for Zn-air Batteries

This project involves the investigation of organic electrolytes’ suitability for rechargeable Zn-air batteries. Working with industry partner Ionic Industry, the project has identified promising new ways to develop efficient Zn-air batteries.

Contact: Mohammad Chowdhury (Zia)

Methods for Understanding Li-ion Battery Performance in Remote Sensing

How do we know a battery is failing before it fails? Batteries in various environments are subject to a multitude of ambient conditions such as temperature and humidity. Combine this with the electrical demands in the operation of the battery and it becomes very important to understand what is occurring within a battery to prevent early degradation or disaster. This project aims to understand the current methods of detecting these early degradations in commercial devices of today, creating new methods and potentially applying those to new battery chemistries/technologies for the future of environmental remote sensing.

Contact: Bodie Fuller

 Lithium metal batteries as future energy storage device

How do we increase the lifespan of a battery? Depending on the operational conditions, batteries are exposed to various types of degradation which can affect cell performance. Moreover, satisfying ever-growing market demand for batteries with broader operational voltage, temperature, and capacity adds to these complications. Therefore, identifying degradation mechanisms can extend the cell’s lifespan and avoid premature failure through new engineering strategies. This project is mainly focused on the investigation of the dominant degradation mechanisms that affect the battery’s cathode and separator at elevated temperatures in an advanced ionic liquid-based electrolyte to overcome the current issues and keep the cells cycling more efficiently for a longer period of time. 

Contact: Meisam Hasanapoor

Understanding the critical steps in the manufacture of advanced high energy density lithium-metal batteries

Manufacturing of advanced lithium-metal batteries in ionic liquid electrolytes involves a number of steps, from electrode manufacturing to Li-metal surface treatment, cell assembly and formation and packaging. Each process has a significant effect on the quality of the final product and its performance. In this project we investigate the effect of different parameters within “electrolyte filling”, “formation cycling” and “external compression” steps on the performance of lithium-metal batteries in ionic liquid electrolytes.

Contact: Mojtaba Eftekharnia

Machine Learning-assisted Study of Ageing Process and Self-discharge Behaviour of Graphene-based Supercapacitors

Ageing and self-discharge are two easily neglected, but serious, issues for supercapacitors, especially under extreme serving conditions, such as high operating voltages and temperatures. This project will use multi-layered graphene-based membranes (MGMs) developed by Prof Dan Li’s research group to investigate the nature of ageing and self discharge as well as data-driven approaches (e.g. machine learning). Drawing on this easily-modelled material platform with multiple tunable features,  the exact origins of both adverse processes can be fundamentally explored.

Contact: Xiaoyang Du


Platform 3: Operations and users

This platform focuses on enabling end-users to select and integrate new technologies, for applications such as large-scale renewable energy support, unmanned aerial vehicles and batteries for high temperature applications.

Design and analysis of hybrid battery/capacitor systems for high current response

The project will explore issues such as battery size and cost, using Li and Na metal batteries, developed at Deakin University’s BatTRI-Hub.

Contact: Suleyman Yildiz

Clean energy sources and management for drone systems

Drones are used to perform a variety of tasks in many fields, including agriculture, military, health and surveying. Further research in renewable clean energy sources and intelligent energy management systems will widen the scope of drone applications. The objective of this project is to find the best combination of energy sources to increase drone endurance and service lifetime while optimising power usage using intelligent energy management algorithms.

Contact: Jayanth Kumar