Lithium-sulfur battery could cure range anxiety — study
E&E News | David Iaconangelo Australian scientists say they’ve developed a lithium-sulfur battery durable enough to become the preferred power source for electric vehicles with double the range of a Tesla. Lithium-sulfur batteries are typically less expensive than lithium-ion types now used in electric cars, but they degrade quickly when delivering high volumes of energy. The Australian breakthrough could change that by providing a more stable cathode, the end of the battery that discharges electrical currents. As described in a study published last weekend in Science Advances, the lithium-sulfur technology could eventually power a car for well over 600 miles, far outstripping the range of lithium-ion and effectively wiping away consumer concerns about the capabilities of electric models. “The increased specific energy of this next generation of lithium batteries should allow for 1000km (621 miles) [of range] and more,” while preserving cost advantages, wrote Mahdokht Shaibani, a research fellow and lead author of the study by professors at Monash University in Melbourne. The lithium-sulfur technology, she added, wouldn’t use cobalt — a mineral largely sourced from Congo and associated with reports of labor abuses. Cobalt is expected to come into short supply over the next decade. Sulfur, by contrast, is “historically very cheap to acquire” and “in significant abundance,” Shaibani noted in an email to E&E News. The invention still needs work. The stability of the lithium anode needs to be increased fivefold, she said, and the management system that monitors and protects the battery is in its early stages.