Monash University develops lithium-sulfur battery

Researchers develop most efficient lithium-sulphur battery to date

New battery can power phone for five days

Imagine owning a smartphone that had a five-day battery charge.

Researchers from Australia have claimed that they have developed the world's most efficient lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery, capable of powering a smartphone for five continuous days - the equivalent of an electric auto being able to drive a distance of over 1,000 km. Today, most EV use Li-ion batteries, but are slowly reaching their theoretical limits of being able to provide roughly up to 300-watt hour per kilogram of energy. The research team, led by Dr. Mahdokht Shaibani from Monash University's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, have an approved filed patent (PCT/AU 2019/051239) for their manufacturing process. Such batteries also start losing their capacity over time - for instance, a laptop battery in use for a few years does not function as well as a new one.

But the Monash University researchers say that they may have come up with a new type of lithium-sulfur battery that could mitigate some of those problems.

The team in Australia has reconfigured the design of sulfur cathodes so that they are able to withstand higher stress loads without seeing a drop in overall performance.

Currently, lithium-ion batteries dominate the power market.

Beyond the performance benefits, researchers also said that the battery tech could lessen the impact on the environment.

The worldwide effort was led by Dr Mahdokht Shaibani of the university's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, with team members from the University of Liege in Belgium and Dresden, Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology. The Li-S battery has the potential to outpace present market leaders by over four times, and power global markets, including Australia, into the coming days.

The researchers leveraged a unique bridging architecture, first recorded in processing detergent powders in the 1970s, to develop a method that created bonds between particles to accommodate stress and deliver a level of stability not seen in any battery to date.

"This approach not only promotes high performance measurements and a long service life, but is also simple and extremely low-priced to manufacture, using water-based processes, and can lead to significant reductions in hazardous waste for the environment, "said Hill". Further testing in cars and solar grids is planned for early 2020, leaving us hopeful that this tech could actually hit the mainstream in the next couple of years.

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