Monash University

Sugar coating opens a path to low cost lithium sulfur batteries

Offering the potential to:

  • Drive an electric vehicle from Melbourne to Sydney on a single charge
  • Create lightweight batteries for drones and submarines
  • Unlock new avenues in aviation and maritime industries
  • Produce batteries in Australia with Australian lithium, without using cobalt and rare earth minerals.

Melbourne to Sydney on one charge: the new lithium-sulfur battery technology could store two to five times more energy. The Monash Energy Institute team (L-R): Mahdokht Shaibani, Mainak Majumder, Matthew Hill, Yingyi Huang.
Credit: Monash Energy Institute

Simply by adding sugar, researchers from the Monash Energy Institute have created a longer-lasting, lighter, more sustainable rival to the lithium-ion batteries that are essential for aviation, electric vehicles and submarines.

The Monash team, assisted by CSIRO, report in today’s edition of Nature Communications that using a glucose-based additive on the positive electrode they have managed to stabilise lithium-sulfur battery technology, long touted as the basis for the next generation of batteries.

“In less than a decade, this technology could lead to vehicles including electric buses and trucks that can travel from Melbourne to Sydney without recharging. It could also enable innovation in delivery and agricultural drones where light weight is paramount,” says lead author Professor Mainak Majumder, from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Associate Director of the Monash Energy Institute.

In theory, lithium-sulfur batteries could store two to five times more energy than lithium-ion batteries of the same weight. The problem has been that, in use the electrodes deteriorated rapidly, and the batteries broke down. There were two reasons for this – the positive sulfur electrode suffered from substantial expansion and contraction weakening it and making it inaccessible to lithium, and the negative lithium electrode became contaminated by sulfur compounds.

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3D-printed system speeds up solar cell testing from hours to minutes

Australian scientists flag dramatic improvement to next-gen perovskite R&D

Full paper and images available. Details below.

A detail from the new 16-channel parallel characterisation system.
Credit: Adam Surmiak, Xiongfeng Lin

Tests on new designs for next-gen solar cells can now be done in hours instead of days thanks to a new system built by scientists at Australia’s Monash University, incorporating 3D-printed key components.

The machine can analyse 16 sample perovskite-based solar cells simultaneously, in parallel, dramatically speeding up the process.

The invention means that the performance and commercial potential of new compounds can be very rapidly evaluated, significantly speeding up the development process.

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‘Magic crystals’ to enable our electric car future

Australian invention promises massive boost to lithium production

CSIRO and Monash University’s Matthew Hill received the Solomon Award for developing ‘magic crystals’ with dozens of applications from cleaning gases and liquids to mining and drug production.


Cheaper cleaner lithium mining for future cars and batteries is the newest application. It’s being developed with US company Energy Exploration Technologies (EnergyX).

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Using diet to cope with the aftermath of stroke

Connie Wong 1_LR$25,000 Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize goes to young Melbourne researcher

One of Australia’s most creative young medical researchers has won a $25,000 prize to help her develop her ideas on how diet could prevent stroke deaths.

Connie Wong thinks we may be able to prevent early deaths following stroke with a fibre-based diet. She initially used innovative microscope techniques to determine how stroke weakens the immune system. Now she is studying how it also induces leakiness in the gut wall, leading to infection and an upsurge in deaths. And the solution may well lie in diet.

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Five years of L’Oréal Australia For Women in Science Fellows

2011 marks the fifth year that L’Oréal Australia will award its For Women in Science Fellowships to Australian early-career female scientists.

Since its inception in 2007, the Fellowships, worth $20,000 each, have been awarded to 14 outstanding female scientists who have used the award to increase their impact in their chosen field of science, provide support to managing both families and lab work, and jumpstart their independent careers in science.
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L’Oréal For Women In Science November 2009 Bulletin

In this bulletin:

2010 Laureates announced
Two former Laureates win Nobel Prizes in Medicine and Chemistry
Prime Minister recognises L’Oréal Fellow with physical sciences prize
Updates from our 2007 and 2008 Australian Fellows – Tara Telescope in business, and more
Applying for Australian Fellowships for 2010

International Laureates announced
The winners of the 2010 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards were announced on 14 October 2009.
The […]