Technology 2 min read

Energy Breakthrough: Researchers Develop Lithium Sulphur Batteries

We use lithium-ion batteries on a daily basis, but they're beginning to reach the limits of their capabilities. Now, researchers may have found a replacement: lithium sulphur batteries.

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A team of researchers from the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden recently used graphene to enhance the energy density of lithium sulphur batteries (Li-S batteries). According to reports, the method used by the scientists boosted the batteries’ energy by up to five times more than current lithium-ion batteries (Li-ion batteries).

To date, scientists believe that Li-S batteries hold the key to revolutionizing the rechargeable battery market. Unfortunately, developing these batteries holds a number of challenges.

To overcome these issues, the Swedish researchers used catholyte combined with graphene sponge to give the battery the boost it needs. Unlike traditional cells that contain an anode, cathode, electrolyte, and a separator, the team’s Li-S battery instead utilized a catholyte and graphene aerogel.

Carmen Cavallo, the lead researcher of the study, explained:

“You take the aerogel, which is a long thin cylinder, and then you slice it – almost like a salami. You take that slice and compress it, to fit into the battery.”

Enhancing Lithium Sulphur Batteries

In the past, scientists found catholyte – a material created by combining a cathode and electrolyte – unreliable despite its promising qualities. Cavallo and her team reported that the graphene aerogel was the critical factor that made their method worked. Cavallo added:

“The porous structure of the graphene aerogel is key. It soaks up a high amount of the catholyte, giving you high enough sulphur loading to make the catholyte concept worthwhile.”

The redesigned lithium suplhur batteries’ energy density could now be theoretically scaled up to a maximum of 1,500 watt-hours per kilogram, a significant improvement of over 350 watt-hours per kilogram from current Li-ion batteries.

Aleksandar Matic, the study’s lead, was quoted as saying:

“Sulphur is cheap, highly abundant, and much more environmentally friendly. Lithium sulphur batteries also have the advantage of not needing to contain any environmentally harmful fluorine, as is commonly found in lithium-ion batteries.”

The prototype created by the research team already showed an impressive 85 percent retention after 350 charge-discharge cycles. However, the team admits that further research is needed to make Li-S batteries fully reliable.

Read More: New Thermal Battery Could Be An Energy Game Changer

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Rechelle Ann Fuertes

Rechelle is an SEO content producer, technical writer, researcher, social media manager, and visual artist. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with family and friends.

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