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A tablespoon of sugar strengthens lithium-sulfur batteries

A tablespoon of sugar strengthens lithium-sulfur batteries

Sweets don’t always have to hurt. This applies to batteries at least, which an Australian research team has been able to show admirably.

Lithium sulfur batteries are lightweight and have a high charging capacity. With a capacity of up to five times the same volume, they will be more suitable for use in electric vehicles than current lithium-ion batteries.

The catch is that lithium-sulfur batteries disintegrate very quickly. With only between 50 and 100 charge cycles, there is no need to think about its use in electric vehicles. As early as February 2021, we were able to finish technology breakthrough to report. A Korean research team was able to show that the self-destruction process inherent in the lithium-sulfur battery can be significantly slowed down by the addition of cobalt oxalate.

A team of scientists at Monash University in Australia has found a way to prevent the negative lithium electrode from self-destructing. To date, it is destroyed by sulfur impurities, which form a layer on the electrode and thereby interrupt the conductivity. So the team was looking for a substance that prevents sediment buildup.



Longevity Solution: Sugar

They found it in a spoonful of sugar. The sugar was worked into the electrode material. Since then, no more sulfur can be deposited on the electrode. The team defines the process in detail in the work temper nature before.

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Schematic representation: the effect of the red arrow is shown without it, and the green arrow is with sugar. (screenshot: t3n/nature)

Lithium sulfur batteries designed in this way should easily reach 1,000 charge cycles and more. It is clear to researchers at Monash University that this is not enough. After all, modern lithium-ion batteries in electric cars can last up to 2,000 charge cycles, which corresponds to about ten years of driving.

This is why they want to develop more protective measures for the lithium metal anode. About a year ago, the same team developed a method for stabilizing the positive sulfur electrode by incorporating a binding agent that ensures the electrode can withstand the movement of the material during the charging process.



Advantages of lithium sulfur technology: cheaper and longer range

The allure of technology is obvious at first glance. Lithium sulfur batteries are at least 20 percent cheaper to manufacture than those using lithium-ion technology. In addition, they should have up to five times the capacity. An electric vehicle with a range of about 500 km and its current batteries can cover about 2,500 km on a single charge using cheaper lithium-sulfur batteries.

Alternatively, the vehicle’s weight can be reduced in the same range. However, this effect is partly influenced by the fact that the volumetric energy density of sulfur lithium batteries is only about half that of lithium-ion batteries. Thus, a car with a mass of today and a range of about 1,200 kilometers will look realistic.

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