According to new research published in Science Advances, a team from the University of Monash, in Melbourne, claims to have developed the “most efficient lithium and sulfur battery in the world,” which can “exceed up to four times” the performance of Traditional lithium-ion batteries. Learn more about new devices at generationrwanda.org
The lithium and sulfur and are not new, today are used for some small tasks in airplanes and automobiles. However, its use is very limited due to the insulating nature of sulfur, which causes them to degrade rapidly and their useful life is lower than those of lithium ions.
A reconfiguration that would extend the life of the batteries and their density
Lithium and sulfur batteries offer up to five times more energy by weight, the problem is in its useful life. According to these researchers, they have managed to develop a new type of architecture to join the components so that the battery efficiency can be extended for a longer time.
Dr. Mahdokht Shaibani of Monash University, and lead author of the study, stated:
“Ironically, one of the main challenges for mass adoption of lithium and sulfur batteries so far has been that the storage capacity of the sulfur electrode is so great that it cannot handle the resulting stress.”
As explained in the study, the key is in the binder material found in the carbon matrix responsible for passing electrons to the insulating sulfur. This polymer binder keeps those two materials together, and stress during charging causes a break in this connection that causes rapid deterioration in battery performance.
What these researchers have done in focusing on this material, and instead of using the binder to form a dense mass with little free space, they decided to “give the sulfur particles some breathing space.”
That is, this lithium and sulfur battery is now based on a traditional binding agent, but processed differently to form strong bridge bonds between the carbon matrix and the sulfur particles, allowing for extra space as the Battery expands during charging.
According to their first tests, they subjected the battery to 200 charge and discharge cycles showing the efficiency of “more than 99%”, something that had never been seen before in this type of lithium and sulfur batteries. Given this, they claim that this battery could power a smartphone for five continuous days, or have an electric car with up to 1000 kilometers of autonomy.
In addition to this, they ensure that this lithium and sulfur battery would also represent a lower manufacturing cost and a lower environmental impact compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries.
The project is funded by the Australian government and has just applied for the patent for this investigation. They also plan to carry out more tests towards the end of the year, among which is the storage of solar energy, this with a view to commercializing its development in early 2021.