Simon Pound talks to Dr Shalini Divya, co-founder of TasmanIon, about working on a new generation of more recyclable, sustainable and equitable batteries.
A big part of decarbonising the world rests on solving the energy storage question. Part of what makes oil and fossil fuels so popular is that they are a great, dense store of energy on tap. The big options to replace them – things like solar or wind or any other renewable power – have one key issue: to have reliable supply, you need to store that power in some form of battery.
Batteries have seen huge advances over recent years, but there are still some hard limits to the efficacy of lithium, and the supply of the raw materials for batteries is a big issue. There are limited quantities of lithium and cobalt, and their extraction can be incredibly harmful to the environment and the communities involved.
It’s an ethical minefield, and one that’s easy to overlook in the very important move to green tech. But it’s a problem one New Zealand startup is helping solve. Dr Shalini Divya is co-founder of TasmanIon, which is commercialising her research around using the earth’s abundant aluminium to make a new generation of more recyclable, sustainable and equitable batteries.
To talk their mission, the science behind it and her journey from academia to entrepreneurship, Divya joined Business is Boring via Zoom from Wellington this week.