View Full Version : New all-solid sulfur-based battery outperforms lithium-ion technology

06 June 2013, 1249
article here:

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.
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.

SOunds cool. 4 times the energy density. 't'sall I need really.

Luke, come now, give us our reality check shot :p before we get too excited.

06 June 2013, 1611
I'll chime in with downsides : )

Although the team's new battery is still in the demonstration stage, Liang and his colleagues hope to see their research move quickly from the laboratory into commercial applications. A patent on the team's design is pending.

Lab batteries are cool. How long until and what challenges lie in between these batteries and production? Figure 2-3 years .. minimum.

Sionpower has been building lithium-sulfur LiS batteries for years. They say LiS has no thermal runaway, better low temp performance, much lower weight. Sounds good to me.

Here's a battery sample with specs from 2008:

350 Wh/kg, 320 Wh/L, max continuous discharge 2C, max charge rate C/5.

Pretty good for 2008. EIG in comparison (http://www.eigbattery.com/eng/product/3.jpg) is 175 Wh/kg, 370 Wh/L, max continuous discharge 5C, "recommended" charge rate C/2.

Sionpower talks about some of the dissolution problems "roughing" in LiS with liquid electrolyte from a 2010 presentation:

ORNL's solid electrolyte claims to eliminate this problem. Hopefully it will allow higher charge and discharge rates as well; max 2C discharge from a 10 kWh pack that's as large as today's 10 kWh packs is only 20 kW.

If nothing else this should allow a large but very light 10 kWh bike. A 10 kWh Zero S weighs 380 pounds, approximately 120 pounds of which is battery cell. So even if the batteries had the same volumetric density, cutting cell weight by 75% would make it 290 pounds..

06 June 2013, 1651
I maintain volume is more important than weight on a motorcycle - cause it it doesn't fit, it doesn't matter how heavy it is :)

06 June 2013, 1827
as energy density goes up , power density can be less important. A 40Kw motor can be runned by a 4C 10kwh pack or at just 1C by a 40 kwh pack. If batteries have higher energy density and are CHEAPER !!! , power density can be almost ignored.

I think right now the more important improvement is price , this still be the limitng factor in battery choice.

A good point about new technologies is that new tecnology makes older tecnologies cheaper , so when Li-S will become manistream we will be able to buy old LiPo or LiFe for much less money

06 June 2013, 1926
So is the 60 deg. C. the required operating temperature or optimal? If it's required, doesn't that limit packaging options and how thermal management would be be needed?

06 June 2013, 2238
Good question moon. Molten salt sulfur batteries require a high operating temp, makes them impractical for EVs outside of demonstration efforts. Good storage batteries though. If optional.. well, that'd make a lot of Phoenix AZ Leaf drivers happy.

10 July 2013, 0056
Currently you can buy 600Ah/2.15V LiS cell from Winston for 754 Euros at http://enershop.generplus.it , which means 580 Euros/kWh .

Taking into account that a traditional LYP cell from Winston has 80Wh/kg and costs 420 Euros/kWh, but LSP carries 3 times the capacity, it is a good price.

Winston LSP are given for 1000 cycles at 100% , apparentlu at 1C.

10 July 2013, 1214

Here's their 600 Ah cell.

Looking at the discharge curves, 1C discharge (most favorable) is approximately 1.7V to 100% (600Ah).

Weight is 5.3 kg +/- 0.3 kg.

So density is around 1.7V * 600Ah / 5.3kg = 192 Wh/kg.

Not bad, nice to see production cells.. but those densities won't set the world on fire.

They also have a 30000 Ah cell.

18 July 2013, 0245

Here's their 600 Ah cell.

Looking at the discharge curves, 1C discharge (most favorable) is approximately 1.7V to 100% (600Ah).
I thought LiS were given for a nominal voltage of 2.15V.
Anyway 192 Wh is 2.5 times typical Winston gravimetric density (80Wh).
Also, look for SionPower and their amazing 250 Whkg LiS batteries!
Maybe it will become 300 or 250 Wh/kg in an EV-suitable battery; this would mean that in a 210kg battery (Nissan Leaf has a 21000 Wh battery, I think 100 Wh/kg) you could "fit" 52 kWh, which at 150Wh/kg typical for a car would mean an amazing 350 km range. (and an "amazing" 20 hours recharge time with a standard home appliance using 2kW :-) )

Harold in CR
18 July 2013, 0519
Is it possible there is newer updated info sheet ? The one posted is from 2008.

18 July 2013, 1155
Any one have a current price for a 12v system? Wasn't this the same set up for the EV1 car back in the day?

18 July 2013, 1330
Nope, they used lead-acid batteries, and then switched to NiMH.