Energy

Clean Energy: World's most efficient lithium sulphur battery developed in Australia

The battery has five times the capacity of a traditional lithium ion battery. It can retain 99 per cent of its charge even after 200 charge cycles

 
Last Updated: Tuesday 07 January 2020

Can a rechargeable battery power your phone for over five days? Or power a car for over 1,000 kilometres and still have enough charge to drive around your neighbourhood?

The good news is that researchers at the University of Monash in Australia have managed to engineer a battery that has five times the capacity of a traditional lithium ion battery. What's more, the battery can retain 99 per cent of its charge even after 200 charge cycles.

The researchers created this super-capacity prototype by re-engineering a Lithium Sulphur (Li-S) battery. Li-S batteries are not new. But they had an intrinsic problem with the sulphur electrode, which would break after repeated charge cycles, making its superior capacity redundant.

The sulphur cathode would break because of expansion and contraction during cycles.

To overcome this problem, the researchers gave the electrodes more space to expand and contract. The electrodes are bound inside the battery using polymers. The research team used lesser quantity of these adhesives so that the electrodes had more spaceout structures inside them.

These structures behaved more like bridges between the sulphur particles rather than a dense network, which stopped the electrodes from disintegrating.

What makes this a good news is that Li-S batteries are many times cheaper than lithium ion batteries that could bring down the cost of electric mobility.

The prototype of these cells have been successfully fabricated by Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology. These batteries will be put to trial around the world in 2020.

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