Novel cathode design significantly improves performance of next-generation battery

December 11, 2020

A team led by Cheong Ying Chan Professor of Engineering and Environment Prof. ZHAO Tianshou, Chair Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Director of HKUST Energy Institute, has proposed a novel cathode design concept for lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery that substantially improves the performance of this kind of promising next-generation battery.

Li-S batteries are regarded as attractive alternatives to lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries that are commonly used in smartphones, electric vehicles, and drones. They are known for their high energy density while their major component, sulfur, is abundant, light, cheap, and environmentally benign.

Li-S batteries can potentially offer an energy density of over 500 Wh/kg, significantly better than Li-ion batteries that reach their limit at 300 Wh/kg. The higher energy density means that the approximate 400km driving range of an electric vehicle powered by Li-ion batteries can be substantially extended to 600-800km if powered by Li-S batteries.

While exciting results on Li-S batteries have been achieved by researchers worldwide, there is still a big gap between lab research and commercialization of the technology on an industrial scale. One key issue is the polysulfide shuttle effect of Li-S batteries that causes progressive leakage of active material from the cathode and lithium corrosion, resulting in a short life cycle for the battery. Other challenges include reducing the amount of electrolyte in the battery while maintaining stable battery performance.

To address these issues, Prof. Zhao's team collaborated with international researchers to propose a cathode design concept that could achieve good Li-S battery performance.

The highly oriented macroporous host can uniformly accommodate the sulfur while abundant active sites are embedded inside the host to tightly absorb the polysulfide, eliminating the shuttle effect and lithium metal corrosion. By bringing up a design principle for sulfur cathode in Li-S batteries, the joint team increased the batteries' energy density and made a big step towards the industrialization of the batteries.

"We are still in the middle of basic research in this field," Prof. Zhao said. "However, our novel electrode design concept and the associated breakthrough in performance represent a big step towards the practical use of a next-generation battery that is even more powerful and longer-lasting than today's lithium-ion batteries."
-end-
Their research work was recently published in Nature Nanotechnology under the title "A high-energy and long-cycling lithium-sulfur pouch cell via a macroporous catalytic cathode with double-end binding sites".

Team members from HKUST include Prof. Zhao and his current PhD students ZHAO Chen, ZHANG Leicheng, and former PhD student REN Yuxun (2019 graduate). Other collaborators include researchers from Argonne National Laboratory and Stanford University in the US, Xiamen University in Mainland China, and Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University in Saudi Arabia.

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Related Batteries Articles from Brightsurf:

New research says Sodium-ion batteries are a valid alternative to Lithium-ion batteries
A team of scientists including WMG at the University of Warwick combined their knowledge and expertise to assess the current status of the Na-ion technology from materials to cell development, offering a realistic comparison of the key performance indicators for NBs and LIBs.

Fast calculation dials in better batteries
A simpler and more efficient way to predict the performance of batteries will lead to better batteries, according to Rice University engineers.

Building the batteries of cells
A new study, led by Dr. Ruchika Anand and Prof.

Researchers create a roadmap to better multivalent batteries
Lithium-ion batteries power everything from mobile phones to laptop computers and electric vehicles, but demand is growing for less expensive and more readily available alternatives.

New NiMH batteries perform better when made from recycled old NiMH batteries
A new method for recycling old batteries can provide better performing and cheaper rechargeable hydride batteries (NiMH) as shown in a new study by researchers at Stockholm University.

Seeing 'under the hood' in batteries
A high-sensitivity X-ray technique at Berkeley Lab is attracting a growing group of scientists because it provides a deep, precise dive into battery chemistry.

Better, safer batteries
For the first time, researchers who explore the physical and chemical properties of electrical energy storage have found a new way to improve lithium-ion batteries.

New catalyst provides boost to next-generation EV batteries
A recent study, affiliated with South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has introduced a new composite catalyst that could efficiently enhance the charg-discharge performances when applied to metal-air batteries (MABs).

New lithium batteries from used cell phones
Research from the University of Cordoba (Spain) and San Luis University (Argentina) was able to reuse graphite from cell phones to manufacture environmentally friendly batteries.

Safe potassium-ion batteries
Australian scientists have developed a nonflammable electrolyte for potassium and potassium-ion batteries, for applications in next-generation energy-storage systems beyond lithium technology.

Read More: Batteries News and Batteries Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.