LISSEN researchers develop energy-dense Li-metal free Li-sulfur battery; Volkswagen the automotive partner
03 October 2015
EU-funded researchers in the €3.7-million (US$4.2-million) LISSEN (Lithium Sulfur Superbattery Exploiting Nanotechnology) project have developed a new energy-dense lithium-sulfur battery using a new lithium metal-free battery configuration based on the use of lithiated silicon as the anode and a nanostructured sulfur-carbon composite as the cathode. The goal of the project was the development of an advanced battery cell for application in electric vehicles; Volkswagen was the automotive partner in the group.
The battery offers an energy density at least three times higher than that available from the present lithium battery technology, a comparatively long cycle life, a much lower cost (replacement of cobalt-based with a sulfur-based cathode) and a high degree of safety (no use of a lithium-metal anode).
The three-year LISSEN project, which was completed at the end of August 2015, covered all aspects of battery production, from investigating new materials to testing large-scale prototypes. 3D geometric models were used to represent key material properties such as particle distribution and porosities. To further investigate optimized material properties, the researchers implemented a 1D kinetic Li/S cell model in MATLAB, which facilitates the use of bulk material parameters derived from the 3D micro-structural models.
This revealed that the used of modified organic solutions and stable ionic liquid electrolytes could reduce environmental problems associated with sulfur cathode dissolution, while without lithium metal in the anode, the batteries would be safer to use. The ionic liquid electrolyte shows good ion conduction and electrochemical stability even after the addition of Li2S8 acting as a buffer molecule limiting the sulfur cathode dissolution.
Prototypes are currently under development at the battery testing centers and industrial partners involved in the LISSEN consortium, where scalability issues and fabrication aspects are now being studied.
Our efforts in this project were directed toward the replacement of all present battery components with materials that have higher performance in terms of energy, power, reliability and safety.—project coordinator Riccardo Carelli from Consorzio Sapienza Innovazione
In addition to Consorzio Sapienza Innovazione, the coordinator, LISSEN involved 14 partners: Universita Degli Studi Di Roma La Sapienza; Universita Degli Studi Gabriele D’Annunzio Di Chieti-Pescara; Chalmers Tekniska Högskola AB; Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster; Zentrum Für Sonnenenergie- Und Wasserstoff-Forschung, Baden-Würtemberg; Chemetall GmbH; Volkswagen AG; Celaya, Emparanza Y Galdos Internacional, S.A.; Industry-University Cooperation Foundation Of Hanyang University; Deutsches Zentrum Für Luft - Und Raumfahrt; Stena Recycling International AB; Johnson Matthey PLC; Rockwood Lithium GmbH; and Karlsruher Institut für Technologie.
Dominic Bresser, Stefano Passerini and Bruno Scrosati (2013) “Recent progress and remaining challenges in sulfur-based lithium secondary batteries – a review” Chem. Commun. 49, 10545-10562 doi: 10.1039/C3CC46131A
This could qualify as an early (3 - 3 - 3) battery?
Such battery could take a 2020 TESLA S-180D (and other equivalent muscle e-cars) up to 1,000+ Km per full charge? Could also supply enough energy for e-buses and/or e-taxis for a full 8+ hours shift?
Alternatively, I could supply enough energy for future affordable 100+ Km PHEVs?
Posted by: HarveyD | 03 October 2015 at 08:51 AM
Sorry, but this is just another BS announcement of the intent to "do something good"..."someday"..."maybe".
If there is ANY reality to this, then what are the actual specs of this "3 times the energy density" battery. 3 x what? 50Wh/kg? 100Wh/kg? There are literally thousands of Lithium chemistries out there. Which one are they tripling? If it's the Panasonic cells used by Tesla, then we're in a brave new world. But if it was, they'd damn well say so, therefore you know it's a joke.
Those types of press releases are embarrassing. Either have something to say or shut up.
Posted by: DaveD | 03 October 2015 at 09:48 AM
A ic engine comparable electric car with 300 kms range would change the world.
Posted by: Nirmalkumar | 03 October 2015 at 09:49 AM
No need to be cynical.
"Prototypes are currently under development at the battery testing centers"...
Posted by: SJC | 03 October 2015 at 09:57 AM
Lithium sulphur has potential for 600 Wh/kg at the cell level.
Tesla (Panasonic) LiIon cells are at about 260-270 Wh/kg, improving by about 5% per year. The next step change in range will require switching chemistries (to LiS first, then LiAir).
Posted by: clett | 03 October 2015 at 11:24 AM
"A ic engine comparable electric car with 300 kms range would change the world."
Already here at the luxury car level and should be available at the mid-$30k range within two years.
When reading these battery 'breakthrough' articles it might be a good idea to remember that Musk has said he sees a very clear path to lithium-ion batteries hitting 400 Wh/kg by 2020. No breakthrough needed.
Posted by: Bob Wallace | 03 October 2015 at 11:28 AM
I know I shouldn't be cynical, but I think these guys do more damage than good with these types of statements and press releases. It gives all the naysayers ammunition to use against us.
As Bob Wallace says, we are on a path to get great batteries by 2020 even without breakthroughs.
Posted by: DaveD | 03 October 2015 at 12:32 PM
We see a lot of announcements, this one could be something. Bosch has made a recent acquisition and announcement on solid state batteries. These kinds of batteries are suppose to be a $20 billion market by 2020, lots of people want to be part of that.
Posted by: SJC | 03 October 2015 at 12:59 PM
Click on the LISSEN link and go to presentations. Estimated range increases from 160 km to ~400 km. Wh/kg increases from 100-130 to 300-350 in a 2012 presentation. Who knows: current numbers may be higher. They are predicting a large decrease in costs.
Posted by: William Rau | 03 October 2015 at 08:11 PM
If the cost of the batteries keeps dropping then we could have electric cars competitively priced against ICE cars but with more reliability, lower operating costs and clean. My solar panels are ready!
Posted by: Paroway | 03 October 2015 at 09:21 PM
Remember in 2010 when Nissan started selling their 24kwh Leaf for 37k USD. Five years later Nissan is still selling a 24kwh Leaf but the price is 32k USD. Next year we will see some progress. A 37k USD Leaf with a 30 kwh battery. That will be the best BEV the old auto industry can offer. Everyone else will offer 24kwh BEVs or even less than 24 kwh. I have very little hope there will be any serious progress on BEVs offered by the old auto industry by 2020. Batteries are expensive and the only way to make them less expensive is to build giant factories like Tesla's 50Gwh factory or to develop new battery technology. Both things take a lot of time. We are talking decades not just a few years. This is why the Leaf has not improved more than it has.
The only hope humanity has to offer affordable and non-polluting transportation for the masses starting in about 2020 is to make small two seats BEVs that are self-driving and that can be ordered and paid using a Smartphone and then deploy them everywhere in the cities and the suburbs so you can get one within a minute of ordering it. They are affordable because you can spread the high capital cost of the vehicle over several users together doing 100,000 miles or more in one taxi per year instead of one person needing to own their own five seats car and do only 15,000 miles per year in that car. They are also affordable because they are right sized. We only need transportation for one or two 90% of the time. If we need more we just order more two seats cars. It cost less to make a two seats car than a five seats car and the two seats car is twice as energy efficient. In 2010 the Smartphone barely existed. Five years later nearly everybody on the planet has one and they are a lot smarter than those you could buy in 2010. Imaging how smart they will get in 2020. The self-driving technology is developing at the same speed as Smartphone's. They use the same processors and the same sensors only the software differs somewhat although speech recognition and navigation will be the same in both applications. Musk lately said that he thinks he can get the fully self-driving technology ready for 2018. After that it can be deployed through a software update in the countries that allows for fully self-driving cars on public roads. 2018 is really no time at all compared to the very long time it takes to build Tesla's giga factory that will only be fully operational by 2020. And at that time battery price are still too high to make mass market affordable BEVs.
Posted by: Account Deleted | 04 October 2015 at 01:58 AM
The Prieto battery is ready for market launch. This battery has 3-fold energy - and 5-fold power density, high cycle life and a low price. They're looking for someone to manufacture it and make the environment and public happy and content.
Posted by: yoatmon | 04 October 2015 at 03:19 AM
The article cited here is a review, which means that they did not do anything but reviewed the previous work made by others. I don't see any report claimed in this article in the sources.
Problems with all the Si and sulfur based batteries is 1/ cyclability in full cell (i.e. not vs. lithium) and 2/ volumetric energy density (expansion more than 200%, porous electrode needed...). If you do Si-Li-S battery, you have both of them. I will just cite the article cited here :
"However, regardless of the way of introduction of lithium ions into the system, the reported full-cells – Li–Si/S–C72b and Si/Li2S–C73a – showed relatively low specific capacities (e.g., a first discharge capacity of 423 mA gLi2S at a specific current of 389 mA g1 ) as well as a constant and rather rapid capacity fading after 20 cycles."
If you talk with project managers in auto industry (nissan, bmw, vw), they don't expect to use sulfur as batteries because at the moment you don't gain any energy density compared to optimized Li-ion systems. Newt generation batteries will be all-solid-state (for safety, and maybe the use of lithium metal) and silicium-Ni/Mn-rich batteries, which will be benefit from the work made on current Li-ion.
Posted by: toitoimontoi | 04 October 2015 at 04:05 AM
Henrik, the reason it takes so long from lab to on a vehicle is testing... The ice hasn't changed much since its inception, and all ice have similar emissions and safety requirements. Every new battery chemistry developed for a mass market ev has to be lab tested and 'road tested' for months straight after it gets into a prototype. These test cells are brutal, hot and cold environments, and the ultimate stress testing.
Batteries have to go from the lab to the real world, and do so without large warranty claims or other bad press.
The big three will come around when it makes sense to do so. Even Tesla hasn't launched an affordable mass market car yet. The batteries need to be there: cheap, effective, scalable and reliable, after that we will see EVs make a dent.
I think one of the biggest problem facing the EV crowd is the patent system, we have a time in society where generic patents like a rounded corners are actually fought in court. Small labs might be asking too much for people to look at them, or their offerings are so similar to someone else's there might be chance that after all the cars are built and made OEMs are sued for billions.
Large OEMs do everything to mitigate risks. Tesla is a risk taker in many senses its still hard to see if they'll be here in 20 years. VW might not be. Risks, even criminal ones can crush a company over night.
It is good that Bosch Samsung and Panasonic are active developing for the automotive market... Taking the risk off of manufacturers. BEVs will come just a matter of when and how good.
Posted by: CheeseEater88 | 04 October 2015 at 05:27 AM
Also, there are way too many scientific publications. Some blogs take their generic sentences, like "to the point that the battery is now considered to be near to industrial production", way too seriously.
Metrics used in scientific publications are often not even relevent for industrial applications... mAh/g ? amazing, but in your lab you avec so few mg/battery that there are no links to real application.
Posted by: toitoimontoi | 04 October 2015 at 05:59 AM
GM says $30k consumer cost 200 mile range Bolt will start shipping in late 2016 with a battery cost of $145 kWh cell. $100kWh by 2020.
That is quite a lot of progress since 2010.
Posted by: electric-car-insider.com | 04 October 2015 at 11:31 AM
Sounds too god for me to believe. I need to see it happen and in volume. Still 30k USD for a small economy car possibly with little horsepower is not low enough to compete with gassers. You need 20k USD for that IMO. However, it will make the other 24kwh BEVs on the market today unsellable.
True. My point is more that today's battery tech and battery cost would not be a problem if you had driverless BEV taxi services that could split the high capital cost of BEVs between many users and then also take advantage of the fact that BEVs can be made 5 times more durable than gassers and FC cars.
Posted by: Account Deleted | 04 October 2015 at 01:14 PM
The Bolt is $37,500 minus the $7500 federal tax credit.
Posted by: SJC | 04 October 2015 at 01:33 PM
I've seen the Bolt up close, Henrik, even sat in it. It was just the prototype (seats were sculptures, not real) but it's a very attractive car and I'd buy one in an instant if the production version is like the prototype. How close the production will be to the concept, we'll have to wait to see. The GM folks I have talked to said pretty close. More conventional interior probably.
It's going to be quite popular at $30k after federal incentives (Less in CARB states with rebates). Look at all the Nissan Leafs selling with 80 mile range. The Bolt is going to be a very big deal.
Posted by: electric-car-insider.com | 04 October 2015 at 09:42 PM
I am glad you have seen it and can confirm it looks good. We have been disappointed so many times about auto-industry announcement about future products that I have grown very sceptical about them. That includes announcement from Tesla. Remember, Model X took a lot longer than first announced. Model S never became available at 50k USD (in a version that people wanted to buy). The same may happen with the Bolt and the Model 3. It may come at 37k USD but it will be a short range thing with no horsepower and then people will not buy it. They will instead buy a version with longer range, more horsepower and higher quality interior that cost say 45k USD. I think 45k USD is a more realistic price in 2017 for making an attractive small BEV with range and horsepower and that also makes a necessary 15% to 20% gross profit for GM or Tesla.
Posted by: Account Deleted | 04 October 2015 at 11:26 PM
I'm sure you will be able to option up the Bolt to $40-$45k, just loke you can option up almost any car $10k.
But I believe GM will meet their goal. They are already building the Spark. This is Gen 3 BEV for GM. I believe they are taking the challenge from Tesla very seriously. I think the Bolt will be a very interesting car.
Posted by: electric-car-insider.com | 04 October 2015 at 11:58 PM
As soon as Honda makes a BEV that competes on a present value life-cycle cost with any of their small runabouts, then I am a believer.
Don't forget, Honda is an "Engine Company".
Posted by: Dr. Strange Love | 05 October 2015 at 05:55 AM
I am not a believer any more. The current crop of tech is costing more than gas and the ICE engine car of the same quality. And while the Volt is interesting its highway miles are nothing to get excited about. How will these batteries do in the Chicago winter being parked outside when its 10 or 20 below in real temperature, what will be the range then? 5 ICE cars they all start in all kinds of weather and work the same. As far as ICE not really changing are you serious? The blocks from cast iron to Aluminum or some hydrid there of. The variable valve timing turbo and super charging, 3,4,6, and 8 cylinders or 4 on and 4 off. So many things have changed in ICE motors.
And where is the reduction in costs that I used to hear about 10 years ago. As soon as x cars are sold they will be MUCH cheaper. I think we reached that number some time ago. Color me skeptical that they will ever get the cost curve down and the mileage up to acceptable level to be used like a car. Until then I will say what I said for the last 15 years, maybe next year.
Posted by: D | 05 October 2015 at 01:32 PM
Before the Bolt was announced I advised Tesla to watch out for GM. Tesla has no experience building 300,000 units per year, GM does this all the time.
Posted by: SJC | 06 October 2015 at 12:46 PM
GM does have experience building large numbers of cars. But GM doesn't have access to enough batteries so that they can build large numbers of Bolts even if there is demand. Tesla will soon have enough batteries for 500,000
GM also has 'brand problems'. Tesla has "the" brand name when it comes to EVs.
I'm not saying that Tesla will outproduce/outsell GM or any other large manufacturer who starts taking EVs seriously but don't sell Tesla short. Tesla has created a unique car company that has the potential to become one of the major manufacturers.
BTW, at this point in time it's likely not the case that EVs are in competition with each other. They're taking away market from ICEVs. As more EVs become available awareness of EVs will increase and probably grow the market for all.
Posted by: Bob Wallace | 07 October 2015 at 10:09 AM