Australian Team Develops Long-Lasting Litihum-Sulfur Battery

Researchers in Australia say they have developed a new battery with the capability to keep a smartphone charged for up to five days. Apparently this new technology could also power an electric vehicle for up to 1,000 kilometers.

For those in the United States that is equivalent to about 600 miles!

Obviously this announcement is remarkable because if they manage to broadly distribute this technology, it would be a significant breakthrough in the modern hunt for more efficient “green” energy. 

Specifically, the team of researchers out of Melbourne’s Monash University says this new lithium-sulfur battery is easily the most efficient portable energy source in the world as it can outperform traditional batteries by as much as 400 percent. As such, they say they are “on the brink” of commercializing the innovative technology, especially since it should easily help address the global fight against climate change. 

Furthermore, lead researcher, Professor Mainak Majumder commented in a press release that this work should “revolutionize the Australian vehicle market and provide all Australians with a cleaner and more reliable energy market.” 

Now, you may recall that most commercial batteries, these days, are lithium-ion.  This lithium-sulfur alternative have been attractive to industries for quite a long time, though, because the have a higher energy density. That means they can provide power for a longer period of time (like 5 days for a cell phone or 600 miles for a vehicle).  

However, the earliest lithium-sulfur batter prototypes had a very short lifespan.  While they are currently used in some aircraft and domestic cars, it has not been easy to mass produce them and make them readily available to more people. In fact, battery experts The Faraday Institution describes that sulfur’s “insulating nature” makes lithium-sulfur batteries more complicated; and the metallic lithium anode of these batteries degrade quickly.   Fortunately, the Australian team managed to reconfigure the design of sulfur cathode so they can withstand notably higher stress loads without reducing their performance. 

Study co-author Matthew Hill also notes, “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 environmental hazardous waste.”

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