Brisbane-based Graphene Manufacturing Group (GMG) will manufacture battery prototypes or watches, phones, laptops, electric vehicles and grid storage with graphene aluminium ion technology developed at The University of Queensland (UQ).
The company, which recently listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV:GMG) in Canada, will manufacture batteries up to 70 times faster-charging and more sustainable than its lithium ion counterparts, with a life up to three times greater.
The battery prototypes will be manufactured under a research agreement with scientists from UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN).
The technology in question, which makes graphene into more efficient electrodes for powering batteries, was devised by Professor Michael Yu, Dr Xiaodan Huang and postdoctoral student Yueqi Kong, and has been patented and licensed by UQ commercialisation company, UniQuest.
AIBN Director Professor Alan Rowan said the project aims to deliver more efficient and greener batteries.
“After several years of dedicated research into improving the aluminium ion battery, we are excited to be at the phase of developing commercial prototypes for more sustainable, faster-charging batteries,” Professor Rowan said.
“Testing showed rechargeable graphene aluminium ion batteries had a battery life of up to three times that of current leading lithium-ion batteries, and higher power density meant they charged up to 70 times faster.”
“The batteries are rechargeable for a larger number of cycles without deteriorating performance and are easier to recycle, reducing potential for harmful metals to leak into the environment.”
UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said the aluminium ion battery with graphene electrodes could ‘transform the existing rechargeable battery market, dominated by lithium ion’.
“Lithium-ion batteries demand the extraction of rare earth materials using large amounts of water and are processed with chemicals that can potentially harm the environment,” he said.
“This project has real potential to provide the market with a more environmentally friendly and efficient alternative.”
GMG Head Scientist Dr Ashok Nanjundan said the aluminium ion battery with graphene electrodes were also safer because they do not use lithium, which had been known to cause fires in some mobile phones.
“This project is a great example of academia and business working together,” he continued.
“The current recyclability of batteries is highly problematic due to their chemical properties and the stockpiling of dead batteries presents a large and looming environmental and public safety concern.”
GMG CEO Mr Craig Nicol said the project will use local raw materials to reduce supply chain risks and create local jobs.
“We’re excited about developing the commercial prototypes followed by initial production here in Australia – at a location yet to be determined” he said.
The graphene aluminium ion technology was developed with $390,000 in funding support from the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Project over three years.