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Lithium-Sulfur Battery Looks Promising For Electrified Vehicles

Could it be that the laboratory that once ushered in the atomic age has developed the battery chemistry that will enable affordable electric cars with 300-400 mile range?

This is one implication for Oak Ridge National Laboratory‘s solid state nanotechnology based lithium-sulfur chemistry developed between 2007-2013. As we reported last month, ORNL announced it as a patent-pending scientific success that’s theoretically safer and cheaper than lithium-ion.

At this point it’s up to a competent engineering company to license the “beyond lithium-ion” chemistry from Oak Ridge which started life in 1942 as a home to the Manhattan Project, is now the largest science and energy lab in the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) system, and appears destined to become a national park as well.

ORNL’s mission is far more benign today, but its recent invention has had several interested parties “knocking on the door” including “at least two” in the automotive business, according to ORNL’s David L. Sims, technology commercialization manager.

A $30,000 electric car later this decade or early next that could outdistance today’s $90,000-plus 85-kwh Tesla Model S would be a significant milestone surpassing more modest electric cars which today may go only 80-100 miles on a charge.


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