EU-funded researchers in the LISSEN (Lithium Sulfur Superbattery Exploiting Nanotechnology) project have developed a new lithium-sulfur battery that uses lithiated silicon as the anode and a nanostructured sulfur-carbon composite as the cathode.
The team says its battery offers an energy density at least three times higher than that of current lithium battery technology, as well as a comparatively long cycle life, much lower cost and a high degree of safety.
The three-year LISSEN project, which wound up in August, involved 14 European universities, companies and research institutes, including automotive partner Volkswagen. With the goal of developing an advanced battery cell for EVs, the group used 3D geometric models to represent key material properties such as particle distribution and porosities.
The researchers found that using modified organic solutions and stable ionic liquid electrolytes could reduce the environmental problems associated with sulfur cathode dissolution. The ionic liquid electrolyte shows good ion conduction and electrochemical stability even after the addition of Li2S8 as a buffer molecule to limit the sulfur cathode dissolution.
They also found that omitting lithium metal from the anode could make the batteries safer.
Prototypes are currently under development, and industrial partners are studying fabrication and scalability issues.
“Our efforts in this project were directed toward the replacement of all present battery components with materials that have higher performance in terms of energy, power, reliability and safety,” said Project Coordinator Riccardo Carelli.