Tech

3500-cycle lithium-sulfur battery, the promise of electronic mobility

A new bio-inspired membrane has enabled a University of Michigan battery to operate over the 1,000 cycles required to power an electric vehicle. Offers 5 times the capacity of lithium ion

Credits: Ahmet Emre, Kotov Lab

The fibrous structure of cartilage inspires new improvements in the lithium-sulfur battery

(Rinnovabili.it) – The new big promise of the electric car world? comes from Lithium sulfur battery from the University of Michigan. Here, with the help of Mother Nature, a team of scientists got their hands on a structural design to solve one of the major problems in Li-S coupling.

Advance this core technology 5 times higher storage capacity For those of conventional rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The highest energy density with lower costs – Because sulfur is used instead of lithium – make it a very interesting solution for storing electricity. For years, lithium-sulfur batteries have faced a huge technical hurdle: Very few charge/discharge cycles.

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The main problem with this technique is the gradual loss of the active substance from the electrode (the so-called Iveto’s dribble of lithium polysulfide) which determines a short service life. Clearly, there is no shortage of studies to increase its duration. “There are many reports claiming a few hundred cycles for lithium-sulfur batteries, but they were obtained at the expense of other criteria: capacity, charge rate, flexibility and safety”The professor explains Nicholas Kotov who led the American search. “The challenge nowadays is to make a battery that speeds up the cycles […] Meet many other requirements, including costs.”

New tip to prevent lithium polysulfide

The solution adopted by scientists at the University of Michigan consists of a single solution A new membrane inspired by the fibrous structure of cartilage It consists of a mesh of aramid nanofibers, recycled from Kevlar. The membrane allows ions to pass between the electrodes but blocks the lithium polysulfide particles responsible for the mixing effect. “Inspired by biological ion channels, we designed a type of lithium ion highway where lithium sulfides cannot bypass tolls.The researcher said Ahmed Emery First co-author of A paper published in Nature Communications.

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According to Kotov, it is an “almost perfect” design. Bio-inspired battery showed Capacity close to the theoretical maximum 1268 mA / g e More than 3,500 charge/discharge cycles. The device also knows how to handle the extremes of automotive life, from the heat of charging in full sun to the cold of winter. However, life in the real world can be shorter with fast charging, approaching 1,000 cycles. The value must be equivalent to ten years.

Maggie Benson

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