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Progress with Lithium-sulfur battery technology

Researchers from Hanyang University in Korea and the University of Rome Sapienza (Italy) have developed a lithium-sulfur battery employing a high-performance mesoporous hard carbon spherules-sulfur cathode and a stable, highly conducting electrolyte.

The results, reported in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, demonstrate that the battery cycles with very high capacity—on the order of 750 mAh g−1—with excellent retention during cycling. In addition, by exploiting the high conductivity of the electrolyte, the battery performs very well also at low temperature, i.e., delivering a capacity of 500 mAh g−1(S) at 0 °C for more than 170 charge-discharge cycles.

The team suggests that the results may substantially contribute to the progress of the lithium-sulfur battery technology.


  • Kim, J., Lee, D.-J., Jung, H.-G., Sun, Y.-K., Hassoun, J. and Scrosati, B. (2012), An Advanced Lithium-Sulfur Battery. Adv. Funct. Mater. doi: 10.1002/adfm.201200689



In the past few years, there have been some very impressive reports about dozens of improvements in battery technology. Alas, none of them have yet appeared on the market. Will they ever?


Are there unknown reasons for that?

Technologies already exist for extended range (500 to 800 Km) batteries. Who gains with all those delays?



After finding a good battery chemistry, it usually requires an additional breakthrough to produce it cheaply in large quantities. Frustrating, isn't it?

The silicon solar cell was first produced in the lab about half a century ago. Only now it is ready for true mass production.


Oh come on Anne, it's much more fun to assume some evil villain running a world wide conspiracy!



I think that some don't realize the long way there is between a lab demonstration and a product for consumer market. Safety, reliability, manufacture-ability, low cost are tough barriers of entries and few innovation will make it through. Li-ion is now more than 30 years old still the commercial performances are not what we need, and that's nobody's fault. Asides Battery industry has always been slow to progress, introducing new material is always a long and difficult process.


I think that some don't realize there is a difference between a lab demonstration and a product for consumer market.



You can overcome some of that if you make the user interface so pretty that people will pay a premium. Think iPhone/Tesla and maybe Fisker.

I'm not sure what that looks like for a Silicon-nanowire/lithium-Air/Lithium-Sulfur/incremental-lithium-ion battery...but sometimes the principle works.


Healthy-Breeze is correct. Consumer excited product get fast tracked. Consumer electronics probably the fastest since there are few safety issues (aside from those pesky cell phone microwaves.) But look at the incredible fast roll out of the microwave oven - born from radar in 1946, developed to its first commercial product - 1947. And that is with MANY concerns about radiation safety issues.

Battery storage has long been a problem. But here is a product that could change all that in a couple of years:

Point is - in a capital-based market - slowing or eliminating competitive threats via politics, M&A or subterfuge is part of the game. Only consumers lose.


Yes, tablets are selling at a furious rate. Most students will have one soon. Their price will be as low as $45 in many countries. Ultra high definition (2x retina and even more) displays will rise to the the market place by the millions in a few months, not in years. Smart Phones and very high definition digital cameras have followed at a very fast pace. More efficient, higher definition Smart TVs will follow the same quick introduction rate soon. Low cost wireless Tablet to HDTV connection (integrated wireless HDMI in both TV and tablet) or equivalent will become common place within a few months, etc etc. Meanwhile, battery technology will progress at a relatively slow pace of about 8%/year.


Unless of course it is accelerated by the appearance of disruptive technology challenging chemical storage. The appearance shortly of VERY low cost electrical energy will change the entire human landscape. Batteries are the least of the change coming.

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