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All-Solid Sulfur-Based Battery Outperforms Lithium-Ion Technology – Nasa Tech Briefs

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have designed and tested an all-solid lithium-sulfur battery with approximately four times the energy density of conventional lithium-ion technologies that power today’s electronics. The ORNL battery design, which uses abundant low- cost elemental sulfur, also addresses flammability concerns experienced by other chemistries.

“Our approach is a complete change from the current battery concept of two electrodes joined by a liquid electrolyte, which has been used over the last 150 to 200 years,” said Chengdu Liang, lead author on the ORNL study published this week in Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

Scientists have been excited about the potential of lithium-sulfur batteries for decades, but long-lasting, large-scale versions for commercial applications have proven elusive. Researchers were stuck with a catch-22 created by the battery’s use of liquid electrolytes: On one hand, the liquid helped conduct ions through the battery by allowing lithium polysulfide compounds to dissolve. The downside, however, was that the same dissolution process caused the battery to prematurely break down. The ORNL team overcame these barriers by first synthesizing a never-before-seen class of sulfur-rich materials that conduct ions as well as the lithium metal oxides conventionally used in the battery’s cathode. Liang’s team then combined the new sulfur-rich cathode and a lithium anode with a solid electrolyte material, also developed at ORNL, to create an energy-dense, all-solid battery.

More http://www.techbriefs.com/component/content/article/1198-ntb/news/news/17081

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