Screen printed batteries: a renewable breakthrough

University of Queensland

Revolutionary screen-printed batteries were on display this week, signalling the future of renewable energy storage.

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Arthur Sinodinos, viewed the ground-breaking energy storage devices when he visited the University of Queensland on 24 July.

The visit follows the announcement of a $2 million Federal Government commitment to a renewable energy partnership between the University of Queensland, the University of New South Wales and the private sector.

The research project will be supported by University of Queensland’s Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering and Innovation.

Solar capability of printed batteries

Printed Energy Pty Ltd, the private firm involved, anticipates that printed batteries will soon be used in combination with solar panels.

Printable solar panels could replace bulkier formats.

Printable solar panels could replace bulkier formats. Image: Pixabay

This will assist in managing problems of intermittent energy and insufficient energy storage, the company claims.

With extensive experience in the field of batteries, photovoltaics and printed electronics, Printed Energy Pty Ltd has developed the battery technology using non-toxic and low-flammability materials.

The technology firm has the backing of Trevor St Baker – philanthropist, renewable energy innovator, founder of ERM Power and the man behind the St Baker Energy Innovation Fund.

Screen-printed battery technology

The ultra-thin batteries, produced by Printed Energy Pty Ltd, can be printed out in a roll-to-roll process like a traditional newspaper.

Their thin, flexible format allows them to be adapted to practically any shape.

The University of Queensland team believes they will eventually be able to power an extraordinary range of items including:

  • Disposable medical devices.
  • Smart cards.
  • Sensors and personal lighting.
  • Wearable electronics.
  • Larger-scale power storage.

 University drive for excellence

According to the Director of the Dow Centre, Professor Chris Greig, future applications of this technology are limited only the imagination.

“This technology represents not just an opportunity for us to be involved in cutting-edge science and innovation, but presents a real opportunity for the next generation of Australian manufacturing,” he says.

“Our mission is to foster and facilitate advances in science and engineering which are technologically, economically and socially sustainable.

This project “fits the bill perfectly” he adds, with its huge potential for the future of energy storage.