World’s Most Efficient Lithium-Sulfur Battery Developed – Powers Smartphone for 5 Days

Battery Technology Representation

Researchers at Monash University have created the world’s most efficient lithium-sulfur battery, which can run a smartphone for five consecutive days.

  • Monash University researchers have developed the world’s most efficient lithium-sulfur battery, capable of powering a smartphone for five continuous days.
  • Prototype cells have been developed in Germany. Further testing in cars and solar grids to take place in Australia in 2020.
  • Researchers have a filed patent on the manufacturing process, and will capture a large share of Australia’s lithium chain.

Imagine having access to a battery, which has the potential to power your phone for five continuous days, or enable an electric vehicle to drive more than 1000km without needing to “refuel.”

Monash University researchers are on the brink of commercializing the world’s most efficient lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery, which could outperform current market leaders by more than four times, and power Australia and other global markets well into the future.

Dr. Mahdokht Shaibani from Monash University’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering led an international research team that developed an ultra-high capacity Li-S battery that has better performance and less environmental impact than current lithium-ion products.

The researchers have an approved filed patent (PCT/AU 2019/051239) for their manufacturing process, and prototype cells have been successfully fabricated by German R&D partners Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology.

Matthew Hill, Mahdokht Shaibani and Mainak Majumder

Associate Professor Matthew Hill, Dr. Mahdokht Shaibani and Professor Mainak Majumder. Credit: Monash University

Some of the world’s largest manufacturers of lithium batteries in China and Europe have expressed interest in upscaling production, with further testing to take place in Australia in early 2020.

The study was published in Science Advances today (Saturday, January 4, 2020) — the first research on Li-S batteries to feature in this prestigious international publication.

Professor Mainak Majumder said this development was a breakthrough for Australian industry and could transform the way phones, cars, computers, and solar grids are manufactured in the future.

“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 revolutionize the Australian vehicle market and provide all Australians with a cleaner and more reliable energy market,” Professor Majumder said.

“Our research team has received more than $2.5 million in funding from government and international industry partners to trial this battery technology in cars and grids from this year, which we’re most excited about.”

Using the same materials in standard lithium-ion batteries, researchers reconfigured the design of sulfur cathodes so they could accommodate higher stress loads without a drop in overall capacity or performance.

Inspired by unique bridging architecture first recorded in processing detergent powders in the 1970s, the team engineered a method that created bonds between particles to accommodate stress and deliver a level of stability not seen in any battery to date.

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 favors 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,” Associate Professor Hill said.

Reference: “Expansion-tolerant architectures for stable cycling of ultrahigh-loading sulfur cathodes in lithium-sulfur batteries” by Mahdokht Shaibani, Meysam Sharifzadeh Mirshekarloo, Ruhani Singh, Christopher D. Easton, M. C. Dilusha Cooray, Nicolas Eshraghi, Thomas Abendroth, Susanne Dörfler, Holger Althues, Stefan Kaskel, Anthony F. Hollenkamp, Matthew R. Hill and Mainak Majumder, 4 January 2020, Science Advances.
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay2757

The research team comprises: Dr Mahdokht Shaibani, Dr. Meysam Sharifzadeh Mirshekarloo, Dr. M.C. Dilusha Cooray, and Professor Mainak Majumder (Monash University); Dr. Ruhani Singh, Dr. Christopher Easton, Dr. Anthony Hollenkamp (CSIRO) and Associate Professor Matthew Hill (CSIRO and Monash University); Nicolas Eshraghi (University of Liege); Dr. Thomas Abendroth, Dr. Susanne Dorfler, Dr. Holger Althues and Professor Stefan Kaskel (Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology).

7 Comments on "World’s Most Efficient Lithium-Sulfur Battery Developed – Powers Smartphone for 5 Days"

  1. RICHARD K PRICE | January 4, 2020 at 5:36 am | Reply

    Had the battery industry not bought off the past innovations in battery advances and technology, today’s batteries would last a lifetime and eliminate the excess of ninety percent of hazardous waste associated with batteries. These greedy corporations have cost us billions, this multiplied by destruction to the environment.

  2. Had Japan not allowed its fertility rate to fall so low, its population would not have aged so fast, and stayed young and dynamically inventive. Then, perhaps today, the Panasonic battery used in Tesla cars would have a range in excess of 1000 miles, and we’d all be living on Mars by now. Imagine that!

  3. Rolling battery mule swap at 40 mph will shrink the battery market by 75 percent. Shallow discharge facilitated by battery swap in 40 milliseconds will work well with the swelling issue with sulfur.

  4. Curious world. My phone is a Blackview 9500 with a 10Ah battery and it lasts me ten days between chargings. I marvel at other family members buying phones at twice the price that run for hours not days on a charge.

  5. Henrique José Mendes Sotiry | January 6, 2020 at 9:31 am | Reply

    Did they sold the problem of recharging? – i dont want to waitt 2 days to fully recharge the batteries, or even more. In any case it’s a great inprovement, but, to be confirmed by independent scientific organizations. If it’s absolut true this study, maybe a real comercial passenger/cargo jet can fly using this batteries in a Hybrid way. Conventional motors to put the Boeings, Airbus, Etc… in the air, and then, the electric motors to do the rest of the job. I think in the begining the HYbrid fligths will be the soluction because that’s on the first minutes the fligths needs more power (impulse) and this is equall to a fast discharge of the batteries. Sorry about my English.

  6. Retired Engineer | January 6, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Reply

    Yes. We all know there is more to the problem than just Higher Capacity per volume/weight than available today. A game changer battery would also need all of the following:

    1. Rapid Recharge (10 to 15 minutes for electric cars assuming no swapping)
    2. High Stability (Able to tolerate rugged mechanical and other physical stressors)
    3. High Discharge Rate
    4. High Safety (Remember the Hindenburg)
    5. Long Operating Life
    6. Long Shelf Life
    7. A Wide Operating Temperature Range (-20C to 70C)

    I am going to keep an eye on this development. Hopefully this battery will be the start of something great. Congrats research team!!

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