New chemistry guarantees much better lithium sulfur batteries

Jun 22, 2020 06:38 PM ET
  • Researchers in the U.S. have established a brand-new cathode chemistry for lithium-sulfur batteries, which they say pledges to conquer performance problems originating from sulfur's reduced conductivity and also tendency to react with lithium.
New chemistry guarantees much better lithium sulfur batteries
Image: John T. Consoli/University of Maryland

Scientists led by the University of Maryland in the United States have developed a brand-new type of cathode for lithium-sulfur batteries, which they claim will push the promising battery modern technology to higher performance degrees.

Lithium-sulfur is just one of many courses being gone after by scientists aiming to conquer limitations to today's lithium-ion battery technology and to create energy storage options that count on cheaper as well as much more bountiful products. But when made use of as a cathode product, sulfur often tends to rapidly shed performance after a handful of cycles and to liquify into sulfides in the electrolyte.

Conductive carbon the key

The Maryland scientists discovered a way to enhance both the power performance and also security of the sulfur cathode, making use of various types of carbon to stop sulfur from bonding with chemicals in the electrolyte.

" We made use of the chemical bonding between sulfur as well as oxygen/carbon to support the sulfur," explained Chao Luo, lead author of the research study. "This included a high temperature therapy to vaporize the 'excellent' sulfur and carbonize the oxygen-rich organic substance in a vacuum glass tube to create a thick oxygen-stabilized sulfur/carbon composite with high sulfur material."

Making use of multiple microscope strategies, the group had the ability to confirm 60% sulfur web content evenly distributed across the cathode, with the carbon offering to prevent formation of polysulfides. "The formation of solid electrolyte interphase during the activation cycles entirely secure the sulfur in a carbon matrix, providing remarkable electrochemical performance under lean electrolyte problems."

The group's efforts are described in the paper A chemically stabilized sulfur cathode for lean electrolyte lithium sulfur batteries, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Previously in 2020, researchers at Australia's Monash University took a similar strategy to establish what they call "the globe's most efficient lithium-sulfur battery", and has patented the manufacturing procedure it developed for this.

The team led by the University of Maryland is positive that its technique to cathode chemistry will cause lithium-sulfur batteries with the ability of high energy performance and lengthy cycle life times, and that its work will open up brand-new ways for scientists to examine chemical bonding with sulfur products as a path for future developments.