Australian university’s lithium-sulfur battery is four times stronger than rest

Photo: Monash University

Monash University researchers will soon commercialise a lithium-sulfur (LiS) battery, which they say can outperform current market leaders by more than four times.

Professor Mainak Majumder, of the team, said this development was a breakthrough for Australian industry and could transform the way phones, cars, computers and solar grids are manufactured in the future.

The LiS battery has the potential to power phones for five continuous days, or enable electric vehicles to drive more than 1000km without recharge.

“Successful fabrication and implementation of Li-S batteries in cars and grids will capture a more significant part of the estimated $213 billion value chain of Australian lithium, and will revolutionise the Australian vehicle market and provide all Australians with a cleaner and more reliable energy market,” Professor Majumder said.

“Our research team has received more than $2.5 million in funding from government and international industry partners to trial this battery technology in cars and grids from next year, which we’re most excited about.”

Using the same materials in standard lithium-ion batteries, researchers reconfigured the design of sulfur cathodes so they could accommodate higher stress loads.

The team, inspired by a unique bridging architecture first used in processing detergent powder, engineered a method that created bonds between particles to accommodate the stress loads and deliver a level of stability not seen in any battery to date.

“This approach not only favours high performance metrics and long cycle life, but is also simple and extremely low-cost to manufacture, using water-based processes, and can lead to significant reductions in environmentally hazardous waste,” Associate Professor Matthew Hill said.

The researchers have an approved filed patent for their manufacturing process.Manufacturers of lithium batteries in China and Europe have expressed interest in upscaling production. Further testing to take place in Australia in early 2020.