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Lithium sulphur cells set to change the battery landscape

Since the invention of the battery by Volta in the early days of the 19th Century, users have been looking for more performance. Volta’s device was superseded in 1859 by the lead acid battery – a device still in widespread use today. By the end of the 19th Century, the nickel cadmium battery had been developed.

It then took eight decades for nickel metal hydride technology to appear and to start meeting the need for smaller rechargeable batteries for the ever smaller consumer devices that were appearing. Better performance came in the early 1990s with the lithium ion battery. But, except for some academic projects and developments, by companies such as Nexeon, of more sophisticated anode materials, that’s as far as the battery has come (see fig 1).

Meanwhile, users remain, on the whole, dissatisfied. Decreasing device size means smaller volumes for the battery. Even though power consumption has decreased, the battery operating life between charges remains annoyingly short for many.

Batteries can be classified according to their specific energy, measured in Whr/kg. The higher this figure, the more charge the device can deliver. And it is this figure which battery developer Oxis Energy is addressing as it looks to commercialise lithium sulphur technology.


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