Powering tomorrow: world’s most powerful Lithium-Sulphur battery

Monash researchers develop the world’s most efficient Lithium-Sulphur battery

Lithium-Sulphur Battery design

Associate Professor Matthew Hill, Dr Mahdokht Shaibani and Professor Mainak Majumder with the lithium-sulphur battery design. Image courtesy of Monash University.

Researchers from Monash University are on the verge of commercializing what is said to be the world’s most efficient lithium-sulphur (Li-S) battery. This new technology could reportedly outperform current batteries by more than four times, as well as powering Australia and other global markets well into the future.

How to best power up machines and electric devices remains a challenge. Smartphones that have brought great convenience and made it possible to perform several tasks suffer from fast battery drainage. On the other hand, electric cars that are meant to promote the use of clean energy require regular charging so as to be efficient.

What if there was a way through which your smartphone could be charged for up to five days? Or better yet, if you could drive your electric for more than 1000 kilometers without having to recharge in between?

Well, this could soon become a reality for you as a group of researchers from Monash University in Australia have developed a potent and efficient Lithium-Sulphur battery. According to the team, their Lithium-Sulphur battery can charge a smartphone for up to five days, and electric cars can travel for up to 1000 km without recharging. Meaning you need plug your phone into a phone charger once every few days.

The development of the Li-S is inspired by the architecture used in the 1970s to make powder detergents. Materials used are the same as those used in Lithium-ion batteries. The only difference is with the configuration of the Sulphur cathodes, which enables them to accommodate higher stress and maintain stability efficiently.

According to Professor Mathew Hill, the high performance promised by this battery, low manufacturing costs involved, reduced environmental impact, abundant raw material supply, and the ease of procession makes it a viable product for the future technological applications.

The battery promises better performance, actually four times better compared to existing lithium batteries. Besides, it has less impact on the environment, which is something that Australia and other countries need to fight global warming.

“This approach not only favors high-performance metrics and long cycle life, but is also simple and extremely low-cost to manufacture, using water-based processes, and can lead to significant reductions in environmentally hazardous waste,” Associate Professor Hill said.

The team led by Dr. Mahdokht Shaibani has an active filed patent to enable their manufacturing process to commence. Meanwhile, prototype cells have already been manufactured by German R&D partners Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology.

The testing of the batteries is to be carried out in Australia, later this year.

Through funding from international partners and the government, the researchers believe that their product will be able to transform the lives of millions across the world and capture the huge lithium battery market in Australia.

“Our research team has received more than $2.5 million in funding from government and international industry partners to trial this battery technology in cars and grids from this year, which we’re most excited about.” Said, professor Majumder.

“Successful fabrication and implementation of Li-S batteries in cars and grids will capture a more significant part of the estimated $213 billion value chain of Australian lithium, and will revolutionize the Australian vehicle market and provide all Australians with a cleaner and more reliable energy market.”

Giant manufacturers of lithium batteries from Europe and China have already expressed their interest in helping the research team to upscale the production.

The research team comprises: Dr Mahdokht Shaibani, Dr Meysam Sharifzadeh Mirshekarloo, Dr M.C. Dilusha Cooray and Professor Mainak Majumder (Monash University); Dr Ruhani Singh, Dr Christopher Easton, Dr Anthony Hollenkamp (CSIRO) and Associate Professor Matthew Hill (CSIRO and Monash University); Nicolas Eshraghi (University of Liege); Dr Thomas Abendroth, Dr Susanne Dorfler, Dr Holger Althues and Professor Stefan Kaskel (Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology).

Source: Science Advances. More information can be found here.

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