The most efficient lithium sulfur battery in the world.
Researchers at Monash University have developed a lithium-sulfur battery that can outperform a lithium-ion battery by at least four times in terms of performance. According to the researchers, it will make it possible to charge smartphones once every five days, and electric cars only after covering 1,000 kilometers.
Lithium-sulfur batteries have been under development for a long time, because they have great potential. They offer five times more energy capacity in relation to weight than lithium-ion batteries. The disadvantage of lithium-sulfur batteries that have arisen so far was, however, much shorter life.
Researchers at Monash University have overcome the problem of lithium-sulfur battery life by creating a new architecture of bonds between molecules inside the battery. Scholars' inspiration was the unique bond architecture used for the first time in the 1970s in the processing of powdered detergents.
"Ironically, the main challenge associated with the massive use of lithium-sulfur batteries has so far been that the sulfur electrode capacity is so large that it cannot cope with the load associated with this capacity."Said Dr. Mahdokht Shaibani, lead author workingin which the battery is described. "Instead, it falls apart, just as people sometimes break under stress."
As Shaibani explains, this load causes key battery components to deform. In particular, it is a carbon matrix that is responsible for transferring electrons to sulfur as an insulator and a polymer binder that connects these materials together. Interrupting their connection leads to a sharp deterioration in battery performance.
While in earlier lithium-sulfur batteries, the said polymer binder formed a very dense network, with very few voids, it is completely different in the new battery from an Australian university. The team of researchers used the same polymer, but processed it differently, creating a network of extremely strong bridges connecting the carbon matrix and sulfur particles. This network is much better at dealing with emerging stresses than the current solution.
During testing, the battery of scientists from Monash University gave very promising results. After 200 work cycles, its performance dropped by just 1 percent, which researchers say is unheard of for batteries with such a large capacity.
Over the next year, researchers intend to test their battery in a very wide range – checking how it performs in electric cars, in storing energy from solar panels, and more. Over 2.5 million dollars of funds obtained from the Australian government and international partners are to allow them to carry out these tests.
Scholars have already applied for patenting their technology. Interestingly, the largest battery manufacturers from China and Europe have already expressed interest in the large-scale lithium-ion battery production.
Source: Science advances