LISSEN researchers develop energy-dense Li-metal free Li-sulfur battery; Volkswagen the automotive partner
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