Team from Monash University develops Li-S batteries with better performance and less environmental impact than Li-Ion batteries.

CREDIT Monash University

An international team from Monash University has developed Lithium-Sulfur batteries with the potential of displacing current Lithium –Ion technologies. Their ultra high efficiency Li-S batteries show better performance and a lower environmental impact than Li-Ion batteries. Batteries are capable of powering a smartphone for five continuous days, without needing to recharge.

Researchers utilized the same materials as used in standard Li-Ion products but used an approach that allows the Sulphur cathodes to tolerate higher stress loads making them more performance-efficient. The process they used was motivated by the classical methodology in particle agglomeration theories. This method allows bonds to be created between particles which can accommodate the higher stress by reducing the loss of volume in the cathodes.

Open Access paper was published in Science Advances 3 days ago:

Lithium-sulfur batteries can displace lithium-ion by delivering higher specific energy. Presently, however, the superior energy performance fades rapidly when the sulfur electrode is loaded to the required levels—5 to 10 mg cm−2— due to substantial volume change of lithiation/delithiation and the resultant stresses. Inspired by the classical approaches in particle agglomeration theories, we found an approach that places minimum amounts of a high-modulus binder between neighboring particles, leaving increased space for material expansion and ion diffusion. These expansion-tolerant electrodes with loadings up to 15 mg cm−2 yield high gravimetric (>1200 mA·hour g−1) and areal (19 mA·hour cm−2) capacities. The cells are stable for more than 200 cycles, unprecedented in such thick cathodes, with Coulombic efficiency above 99%.

The manufacturing process has been patented and German R&D partners Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology have already manufactured prototypes. Further testing is to take place in Australia in 2020 and major manufacturers of lithium batteries have already shown an interest in escalating production.