Brisbane battery start-ups charging ahead

Vaulta battery (Brisbane)
Image: Vaulta

Dominic Spooner, founder of Brisbane-based battery start-up Vaulta, has created a lighter, reusable battery casing that minimises waste, The Guardian reports.

“It seems like almost every other day there are tech advancements—in the cells, cell types, cell shapes, cell geometry—coming out of the US or Europe. But the way they’re being packaged, the way they’re being housed, was just being overlooked,” Spooner told The Guardian.

Spooner developed the lightweight battery casings from a shared garage in North Brisbane, where he runs his technology firm Vaulta.

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By reducing the number of component parts, Vaulta reduces the size of battery casings by around 18 per cent, creating a smaller and lighter product.

Vaulta’s battery casing also takes steps to reduce the impact of batteries on the environment.

“Because we’re not welding the cells, when they come out of that casing they have the same properties as when they went in, and they are better set up for reuse scenarios,” Spooner said.

The fast-growing energy casing industry has received criticism for harsh environmental impact, with only 2 per cent of Australia’s lithium-ion batteries recycled in 2018.

In June, Vaulta received a federal grant to make the innovative battery casing market-ready, and the company has already signed agreements with leading aerospace and car battery companies.

“Batteries will change our lives in ways that we’re maybe not even totally aware of, but … we can create our own new group of problems if we’re not careful,” Spooner says.

Elsewhere in Brisbane, suppliers are offering greener energy storage technologies.

Nundah based company Essential Water and Energy Services have introduced the Air Battery, an eco-friendly alternative to lithium-ion batteries.

The Air Battery is soon to begin manufacture under licence in Australia.

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The technology, developed by South African start-up LiGE, uses a kinetic-based compressed air system to store energy without the use of traditional chemical based systems and rare metals.

Lithium-ion batteries have received criticism for the harsh environmental impact associated with the production and processing of rare metals nickel and cobalt, including resource depletion, global warming, ecological toxicity, and human health impacts.

The Air Battery releases zero emissions, and the only by-products are clean water and purified air. With a life-span 25 years longer than common batteries and generators, the Air Battery is among the most environmentally friendly of all energy storing systems.

The battery can be connected to either an electrical grid or a renewable energy source to produce both clean energy and clean water.