on April 4th, 2016

Are lightweight lithium-sulfur batteries the solution to the uncertainty that some associate with lithium batteries? Whether critics like it or not, lithium batteries are here to stay due to them being the operative force of current energy storage batteries like Tesla and Redflow's house powering cells and of course, in our cell phones and the driving force of the latest electric cars. 

Now, the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) is saying lightweight lithium-sulfur batteries might hold twice the amount of power than regular lithium batteries. Working out of DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory the researchers found that the liquid in lithium batteries and its salt content is important when it comes to how many times a battery can be used. According to Phys.org, a specific salt named LiTFSI that assists lithium atoms and sulfur on the electrode and then releases it in quick succession, which is good. Other lithium batteries with different liquids don't release off of the electrode at all and the battery is weaker as a result. 

As lithium design becomes more popular, a more sustainable, longer lasting battery needs to be developed especially for cars that intend to run for long stretches of road. 

The researchers experimented with LiTFSI and LiFSI and concluded that the first iteration they used was interwoven with sulfur more successfully and led to lithium sulfide that broke apart more easily which leads to a stronger battery. 

Dr. Ji-Guang Zhang, who was at the helm of the project, said, "By conducting a macroscopic compositional analysis combined with simulations, we can see which bonds are easily broken and what will happen from there. This process let's us identify the electrolytes behavior, guides us to design a better electrolyte, and improve the cycle life of lithium-sulfur batteries." 

You can read the official Effect of the Anion Activity on the Stability of Li Metal Anodes in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries on the Wiley Online Library. 

 


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