Advanced Materials

Aluminium-ion battery technology

advanced-materials
Thomas Nann

Since Sony first commercialised lithium-ion batteries in 1991, they have powered everything from iPhones to electric cars.

However, lithium batteries have limitations that make them unsuited for lots of applications. Firstly, they contain dangerous components that can result in batteries catching fire or exploding when they are damaged. Secondly, they contain materials that are toxic—which not only makes them difficult to recycle, but also leads to several deaths every year when children swallow them. Finally, these batteries use metals such as cobalt which are unethically mined and not sustainably sourced.

A former Victoria University of Wellington researcher has been developing a new type of battery based on aluminium—a material that is abundant, non-toxic, not at risk of exploding, and can be continuously recycled. Professor Thomas Nann and his team began researching aluminium as a potential battery solution more than three years ago, putting them at the forefront of world-wide research in this area. 

Features and benefits

Safer

Non-toxic and non-flammable—unlike their lithium-ion counterparts—aluminium-ion batteries do not contain electrolytes that can catch on fire, and do not contain cobalt.

Better for the environment

Infinitely recyclable—unlike their lithium-ion counterparts—aluminium-ion battery components can be safely recycled and disposed of. 

Sustainable

Aluminium is one of the most abundant metals in the world and therefore much more available than lithium—which is a finite resource.

Next steps

Having received early funding assistance from KiwiNet to prove the performance criteria of their aluminium battery prototypes, Professor Nann, Shalini Divya (based at Victoria University of Wellington) and the team are now ready to set up a spin-out company—known as TasmanIon—to fully realise the market potential of the intellectual property that Wellington UniVentures has helped them to protect.

Once the company is incorporated, TasmanIon will be undertaking its first capital-raise to seek investment from partners. It is already receiving strong interest from individuals and organisations interested in investing in circular economy businesses.

 

We are now seeking industry partners to help commercialise this technology. Get in touch with the Commercialisation Manager below to find out more.

Ashwath Sundaresan
advanced-materials
Ashwath Sundaresan

Senior Commercialisation Manager

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