New Sulfur-Based Battery Technology to Offer Four Times the Energy of Lithium Ion
"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.
This isn't the first time researchers have played around with lithium-sulfur batteries, though past attempts have been stymied because of the use of liquid electrolytes, which ultimately caused the battery to break down prematurely.
"This game-changing shift from liquid to solid electrolytes eliminates the problem of sulfur dissolution and enables us to deliver on the promise of lithium-sulfur batteries," Liang said. "Our battery design has real potential to reduce cost, increase energy density and improve safety compared with existing lithium-ion technologies."
Another upside is that of cost. Liang points out that "sulfur is practically free," which will make it easier to transition the technology from its current demonstration stage into a commercial application.