Lithium-Sulfur (Li-S) Batteries Will Disrupt Electric Vehicles

A lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery uses lithium as the negative electrode and sulfur as the positive electrode. This type of battery disrupts the traditional market by removing the reliance upon expensive and difficult-to-produce raw materials. The electric car world regards it as an environmentally friendly alternative to lithium-ion.

However, challenges have slowed the development of Li-S technology, most notably – stability. A recent breakthrough in understanding its cathode chemistry provided a model way of overcoming these obstacles to commercializing Li-S batteries. 

Engineers at Drexel University utilized a carbon nanofiber mesh confining sulfur and vapor dispositions so to prevent adverse chemical reactions. The result is crystallized sulfur unreactive to carbonate electrolytes, mitigating their harmful product – polysulfide. 

They demonstrated that the cathode in their prototype Li-S battery remained stable for 4,000 charge-discharge cycles, or 10 years of regular use. This Li-S battery also provided more than three times the capacity of its lithium-ion counterpart. 

Even though they are trying to fully understand the fine print behind their discovery of monoclinic sulfur at room temperature, this breakthrough helps pave the way to commercialized Li-S batteries for electric vehicles worldwide. 


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