CSIRO scientists say "salt bath" will boost lithium-ion battery performance, safety

CSIRO scientists say “salt bath” will boost lithium-ion battery performance, safety

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Australian research team hails a potential game changer for lithium-ion battery performance – and for electric vehicles.

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An Australian research team led by the CSIRO has found that treating lithium-ion batteries with a simple “salt bath” can extend both their shelf life and performance, while also making them safer – a potentially game-changing breakthrough for the battery technology and for the uptake of electric vehicles.


The CSIRO scientists, in collaboration with RMIT University and QUT, have demonstrated that pre-treating a battery’s lithium metal electrodes with an electrolyte salt solution extends the battery life and increases its performance and safety.

The research, published in Nature Communications on Monday, found that the method could accelerate the development of next-gen energy storage solutions and overcome the issue of ‘battery range anxiety’ that is currently holding back the electric car industry.

CSIRO battery researcher Adam Best said the pre-treated lithium metal electrodes could also potentially outperform other batteries currently on the market.

“Our research has shown by pre-treating lithium metal electrodes, we can create batteries with charge efficiency that greatly exceeds standard lithium batteries,” Dr Best said.

The pre-treatment process involves the immersion of lithium metal electrodes in an electrolyte bath containing a mixture of ionic liquids and lithium salts, prior to a battery being assembled.

When used in batteries, these materials can prevent the risk of fire and explosion – a known rechargeable battery issue – by adding a protective film to the surface of the electrode that helps stabilise the battery when in operation.

“The pre-treatment reduces the breakdown of electrolytes during operation, which is what determines the battery’s increased performance and lifetime,” Dr Best said.

Batteries that have undergone the process can also spend up to one year on the shelf without loss of performance.

QUT researcher Associate Professor Anthony O’Mullane said the pre-treatment method could be easily adopted by manufacturers, using “existing manufacturing processes.”

The electrolyte salt solutions, to which CSIRO holds patents, come in a range of chemical compositions. The team of scientists is currently developing batteries based on this technology, and looking for partners to help bring the materials and devices to market.

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  1. MrMauricio 4 years ago

    This could be as commercially important as their invention of wi-fi.All the more reason to cut their funds hey LNP!!!!(Innovation Pary)

  2. howardpatr 4 years ago

    Innovation says Cayman Turnbull while he continues to dance to the tune of Mad Monk Monk Abbott and his right wing religious conservatives supporters.

    Electing Cayman Turnbull on 2 July will see more of the same – including cutbacks to the CSIRO.

    Shame on Turnbull for all his back-flips.

    • MaxG 4 years ago

      He never flipped forward… one needs to understand what the neo-liberals stand for, then there is no surprise about these clowns are doing.

  3. Alastair Leith 4 years ago

    this could be a huge earner if they get to market first. how about a Tesla/Panasonic style GIgaPlant in WA using locally sourced Lithium, local manufacturing and pre-charging the batteries prior to export with energy from RE wind farms (which we need a huge increase in).

  4. onesecond 4 years ago

    Well, we know there is a lot of bull in the battery business, but if this holds true, things could speed up a lot.
    It was published in Nature communications, so someone should tell Tesla. Well, I am sure they already have people reading everything new for batteries. Sounds like this could easily be added to their Gigafactory.

  5. Bob Fearn 4 years ago

    “overcome the issue of ‘battery range anxiety’ that is currently holding back the electric car industry.”
    When your car (Tesla) tells you where you can charge and when you must charge then there is no “battery range anxiety”.

    • Andy 4 years ago

      absolutely, there is no range anxiety. With the right software in your car it will find it’s way to the next charger and let you know if you can go the extra mile ore not. Everyone have a look at the Plugshare app and be surprised how many chargers are already available here in conservative Australia…

  6. Leigh Ryan 4 years ago

    Game Changer, but once again sure to go offshore and Australia gets buggerall out of it.

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