Scientists develop long-lasting lithium-sulfur battery


The Australian developers say the battery, which uses low-priced sulphur in its electrodes, could also power an electric vehicle to drive more than 620 miles.

If commercially viable, the manufacturing process could produce batteries that enable electric vehicles to drive over 1000 kilometres between charges, and keep smartphones running for five continuous days, the researchers said. Theoretically, lithiumsulfur batteries are capable of holding up to five-times more energy than lithiumion ones, but until now they have been wildly impractical for use in consumer electronics.

Imagine being able to leave your bulky power banks and external batteries at home during a music festival or road trip.

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This Li-S battery would also be cheaper to produce, have a smaller environmental footprint than those now on the market, and lead to less hazardous waste, the researchers say. According to The Faraday Institution, there are also "major" issues with the insulating nature of sulfur, the loss of active battery material over time, and the degradation of the lithium anode. "Lithium-sulphur batteries, which use extremely high-capacity sulphur, can store fivetimes as much capacity as traditional lithium-ion batteries, and are made from cheap materials that are available worldwide", said Mahdokht Shaibani, who led the research. The first testing will take place in Australia early this year.

The team in Australia, whose research was published in the journal Science Advances, reconfigured the design of sulfur cathodes so that they are able to withstand higher stress loads without seeing a drop in overall performance. With better performance and fewer environmental impacts, the ultra-high capacity Li-S battery is something to definitely look forward to. Prototype cells have been successfully fabricated by German R&D partners Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology. Some of the largest battery makers in China and Europe are also interested in upscaling production for the battery. "Our research team has received more than $2.5 million in funding from government and global industry partners to trial this battery technology in cars and grids from this year", she says in a statement.

"This approach not only favors high performance metrics and long cycle life", Hill said in a statement, "but is also simple and extremely low-priced to manufacture, using water-based processes, and can lead to significant reductions in environmentally hazardous waste".