30 November 2021
2021 FELLOW DR MAHDOKHT SHAIBANI, Monash University
As we continue to transition to renewable energy technology, advanced and emerging batteries including lithium-ion and lithium metal have become a priority energy source – given their effectiveness and affordability.
Currently the industrial activities around battery supply chain are concentrated in just a few countries, resulting in a near-monopolistic supply structure and giving only a few countries an outsized influence in the marketplace. This presents a price and supply risks to buyers at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic and the ever-growing global trade war have resulted in a series of rare events distressing almost every industry, including the lithium battery industry.
Dr Mahdokht Shaibani, a mechanical engineer from Monash University wants to see this change. To bring lithium battery technology manufacturing locally, where we already hold all of the raw ingredients and securing Australia’s access to vital renewable energy.
Mahdokht seeks to draft a white paper and submit recommendations to Parliamentary, Policymakers, Universities, and Industries on the criticality of moving or at the very least taking major steps towards securing an independent battery supply chain.
“Australia should leverage resource wealth into security by growing in the battery supply chain and moving to a new, more desirable state. In fact, Australia should focus on whole-of-value-chain approaches rather than only mineral production and processing,” says Mahdokht Shaibani.
With over four years of R&D experience in battery prototyping, being an inventor in four filed patents, and several national and international collaborations in the energy sector, Mahdokht believes Australia could take up a new prominent role in the global battery supply chain. Mahdokht wants to critically point out that by utilising, protecting, and managing our local resources and infrastructure, this white paper expects to assist with bringing resilience to Australia’s battery supply chain by setting an innovative yet practical platform for local production of Lithium batteries. This should provide significant benefits to Australia to establish a local control over both the availability and economic benefit of this advanced technology at a time when demand for lithium batteries is expanding rapidly.