An electric car battery technology breakthrough by Curtin University could transform the electric car market.

18 February 2014 — Curtin University researchers have found a way to create rechargeable batteries with greater capacity. This could transform the electric vehicle market by allowing cars to run for more than 300 kilometres before needing to recharge, the researchers say.

The chemical engineers at Curtin developed an innovative procedure for synthesising material within the electrodes of a lithium–sulfur battery, the most popular type of batteries used in portable electronics.

The research, published in Nature Communications, detailed a new material – a high surface area porous carbon sphere, which is able to improve the diffusion and transportation of lithium ions in a battery to improve performance, capacity and life.

“For a long time, there has been significant interest in manufacturing such carbon spheres because of their tremendous potential in energy conversion and storage,” said Dr Jian Liu of Curtin’s Department of Chemical Engineering, who headed the research.

“We’ve been able to make a novel, efficient and general method for synthesising carbon spheres that are excellent electrode material for potential application in supercapacitors for energy storage or rechargeable batteries.

“The benefit of our technology will potentially transform renewable, emission-free electrical devices and vehicles across the globe – its success could place Australia at the forefront of the emerging energy industry and assist national sustainability by reducing gas emission and oil dependence.”

Dr Liu said the new approach was considered to be low cost and suitable for industrial production.

The research was carried out in collaboration with Professor Max Lu from The University of Queensland, Professor Dongyuan Zhao from Fudan University in China and Professor Shi Zhang Qiao from The University of Adelaide.

The paper can be read here.