Researchers Develop High-Performance Lithium-Sulfur Battery

Researchers at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea, have identified a new catalyst material that can enhance lithium-sulfur batteries’ performance and durability.

The researchers said the lithium-sulfur battery, with a 5.4 times higher capacity than a lithium-ion battery, is a next-generation energy storage technology and is closest to commercialization. The battery can be used in medium and large energy storage devices like electric vehicles as well as portable electronic devices, ultra-light, and ultra-small special equipment.

In their report, the researchers explained that the non-conductive properties of sulfur and elution of lithium polysulfides, produced during the charging and discharging process, are major barriers to commercializing the technology.

The researchers said a high-efficiency conversion of sulfur, which is non-conductive and has a low production cost, is required to enhance lithium-sulfur batteries’ performance.

To develop a high-performance lithium-sulfur battery, the researchers synthesized cobalt oxalate as an electrochemical oxidation/reduction catalyst through a chemical precipitation method to produce gram units and applied it to the lithium-sulfur battery’s positive electrode.

The cobalt oxalate electrochemical catalyst-based anode cut down lithium self-discharge, generated by lithium polysulfide, by absorbing the lithium polysulfide on the catalyst and positive electrode’s surface.

The researchers also confirmed that the cell performed continuously without any degradation because of self-discharge.

Jaeyoung Lee, the lead researcher, said, “The research results are most significant in securing capacity improvement and durability of lithium-sulfur batteries, which can implement high energy density at low-cost through electrochemical catalyst reactions. Subsequent research is expected to contribute to the development of next-generation energy storage technologies by gradually improving the durability of lithium-sulfur batteries.”

In March 2020, researchers at the Penn State University had claimed that they developed a safe lithium-ion battery that has power and can last up to one million miles.

Mercom had earlier reported that researchers at the Washington State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed a sodium-ion battery that can be made with widely and cheaply available materials.

Image credit: RudolfSimon, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons