Scientists have recently found that lithium-sulphur batteries are better in performance while being environment-friendlier than the lithium-ion battery. Not only is the lithium-sulphur battery high-powered, but it comes with a significantly longer life too.
The Hindu quoted Kyeongjae Cho, a professor at The University of Texas at Dallas in the US, “Common lithium-ion batteries only have a certain capacity, and most people want to use their phones for a longer time.”
As many smartphone users know, the charge of lithium-ion batteries can last up to 24 hours. Cho, his research associate, Jeongwoon Hwang, along with a team of regional scientists, have worked to improve lithium-sulphur batteries.
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Lithium-sulphur batteries have been gathering praise from the scientific community for some time now. Compared to lithium-ion batteries, they are cheaper to make and weigh less. Also, the energy storage in these batteries is supposed to be more than five times as much in a smaller volume than the most state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries. This could open up many industrial opportunities, big and small.
“A lithium-sulphur battery is what most of the research community thinks is the next generation of battery,” Cho said. “It has a capacity of about three to five times higher than lithium-ion batteries, meaning if you are used to a phone lasting for three hours, you can use it for nine to 15 hours with a lithium-sulphur battery,” he said.
However, all is not hunky-dory with lithium-sulphur batteries. It faces certain problems, such as, sulphur being a poor electrical conductor and it can turn unstable after being charged and recharged for a number of times. The breaking down of electrodes is another problem, which has been holding back lithium-sulphur batteries from becoming a mainstream product yet. Some scientists have tried improving it putting lithium metal on one electrode and sulphur on the other, but while lithium metal can be too unstable, sulphur can be too insulating.
Some scientists have come up with a technology that produced a sulphur-carbon nanotube substance, creating more conductivity on one electrode, and a nanomaterial coating, lending stability to the other.
Apart from this, researchers found that molybdenum, a metallic element that is sometimes used to strengthen and harden steel, produces a material, that, in combination with two atoms of sulphur, can regulate the thickness of the coating, making it thinner than the silk of a spider-web. This seemed to improve stability as well as refined the poor conductivity of sulphur. This in turn allowed for greater power density, allowing lithium-sulphur batteries to become more commercially viable.
Technavio’s latest report, ‘Global Lithium-Sulfur Battery Market 2018-2022’ analyzes the global lithium-sulfur battery market in spheres such as aviation, automotive, etc. and its growth opportunities for companies in areas like the Americas, APAC, and EMEA.
Technavio’s analysis calculates that the aviation sector has been a major contributor in the lithium-sulfur battery market during 2017. The report estimates that by 2022, commercial application of lithium-sulfur batteries in the aviation sector will grow considerably.
According to the report, the market for lithium-sulphur batteries will grow at a CAGR of over 71%. Such dramatic growth is mainly because of lead pollution and stringent laws.
“The environmental concerns caused by lead pollution is increasing with the rising production of lead-acid batteries, increasing use of battery energy storage for hybrid EVs and renewable power generation, and growth in the automotive and other industries.”
The report also states that the use of nanotechnology in the production and development process of battery helps in the improvement of compatibility of power supplies, which in turn will increase influence in the lithium-sulfur battery market.
“The nanotechnology-enabled battery market is witnessing growth due to the growing focus on renewable energy, rising adoption of hybrid EVs, plug-in hybrid EVs, and EVs. This is encouraging lithium-sulfur batteries and lithium ion battery manufacturers to boost energy efficiency of batteries by adopting nanostructured electrodes and electrolytes,” says the report.
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The report has analyzed companies such as OXIS Energy, PolyPlus, and Sion Power, pioneers in the rechargeable battery market. OXIS Energy is working on an innovative lithium-sulphur battery chemistry for the rechargeable battery market. They claim that their product will be lighter, safer, and maintenance free and will have a theoretical energy density five times greater than lithium-ion.
PloyPlus are introducing their proprietary glass-protected lithium-metal batteries featuring a solid-state lithium anode laminate that doubles the energy density of current rechargeable batteries. Sion Power uses Licerion lithium metal technology, which claims to deliver the highest combination of energy density and specific energy available.
An Indian company moving forward in this field is Future Hi-Tech Batteries. Based out of Mohali, they provide a wide range of customized solutions for lithium batteries.