Researchers at Monash University in Australia are on the brink of commercialising the world’s most efficient lithium-sulphur (Li-S) battery, which they contend can outperform current market leaders by more than four times, and power Australia and other global markets well into the future.
The university said the research team, led by Dr Mahdokht Shaibani from Monash University’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, engineered a method that created bonds between particles to accommodate stress and deliver a level of stability not seen in any battery to date. Using the same materials in standard lithium-ion batteries, researchers reconfigured the design of sulphur cathodes so they could accommodate higher stress loads without a drop in overall capacity or performance.
The researchers have an approved filed patent for their manufacturing process, and prototype cells have been successfully fabricated by German R&D partners Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology. Further testing in cars and solar grids will take place in Australia this year thanks to more than A$2.5 million in funding from the government and international industry partners.
“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 revolutionise the Australian vehicle market and provide all Australians with a cleaner and more reliable energy market,” Professor Mainak Majumder said.
Attractive performance, along with lower manufacturing costs, abundant supply of material, ease of processing and reduced environmental footprint make this new battery design attractive for future real-world applications, according to Associate Professor Matthew Hill.
“This approach not only favours 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,” he said.
The study was published in Science Advances.
*Article published in the April-June 2020 issue of The Asia Miner