The €7.9-million (US$8.9-million), 43-month Lithium Sulfur for Safe Road Electrification (LISA) project will launch 1 January 2019 in Europe. The overall goal is to design and manufacture a lithium-sulfur technology that will enable safe electrification of EV applications.
The partners involved in the LISA project are LEITAT (co-ordinators), OXIS Energy Ltd, Cranfield University, Varta Micro Battery GmbH, CIC Energigune, ARKEMA, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Zur Förderung De Angewandten Forschung, Pulsedeon Oy, ACCUREC Recycling GmbH, Optimat Ltd, Technische Universität Dresden, VDL Enabling Transport Solutions BV and Renault.
Due to the fact that Li-ion batteries are still the limiting factor for mass scale adoption of electrified vehicles, there is a need for new batteries that enable EVs with higher driving range, higher safety and faster charging at lower cost. Li-Sulfur is a promising alternative to Li-ion—free of critical raw material (CRM) and non-limited in capacity and energy by material of intercalation.
LISA intends to advance the development of high energy and safe Li-S battery cells with hybrid solid state non-flammable electrolytes validated at a 20Ah cell level. LISA will solve specific Li-S technical bottlenecks on metallic lithium protection, power rate and volumetric energy density—together with cost, which is the main selection criteria for EV batteries. The sustainability of the technology will be assessed from an environmental and economic perspective.
The technology will be delivered ready for use within the corresponding state of charge estimator facilitating battery pack integration.
Today, Li-S is twice as light as Li-ion and has reached only 10% of the sulfur theoretical energy density (2600Wh/kg) at cell prototype level (250-300Wh/kg), with potentially 800Wh/l (600Wh/kg) achievable by improving materials, components and manufacturing.
LISA is strongly oriented to the development of lithium metal protection and solid state electrolyte and will incorporate process concepts enabling integration in future manufacturing lines.
Moreover, the outcome of the project in terms of new materials, components, cells, and processes will be transferable to other lithium-anode based technologies such as Li-ion and solid state lithium technologies.
As such, LISA can have a large impact on existing and next-generation EV batteries, delivering technology with higher energy density beyond the theoretical capacities of chemistries using CRM—i.e. natural graphite and cobalt—or silicon-based chemistries inherently limited by their manufacturability.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement Nº 814471.
Li-sulfur battery developer Oxis Energy is also leading the £7-million Lithium Sulfur Future Automotive Battery (LiSFAB) project, funded by Innovate UK, to transform electric vehicle technology for commercial use. It is developing a next-generation cell and module that is suitable for large electric vehicles such as trucks and buses and will deliver a 400 Wh/kg Li-S cell that will have the significantly improved power and cycle life required by large automotive applications.
This cell will allow buses and trucks to carry considerably more payload and will cost less because of the abundant cell construction materials. State of Charge and State of Health (SoC and SoH) will be improved, along with the manufacturing aspect. The project will look into four areas with OXIS playing a key part in all of them.
On ‘Cell Performance’ OXIS will work with University College London and William Blythe to utilize new materials to improve performance and characterise electrodes and cells using X-ray tomography and other techniques to accelerate development. This aspect of the work will build on past projects that increased cell specific energy (Wh/kg), with further improvements being made to cycle life, power and cell design to meet the performance and safety needs of EVs.
In ‘Cell Characterisation’, cells will be tested extensively to inform development. Rigorous safety tests, rapid test protocols/formation studies, degradation/abuse analysis will be carried out.
OXIS will also play a key role in ‘Cell Manufacturability’. Working with Ceetak, it will develop crucial pouch cell sealing technology required to make a robust automotive cell whilst BPE will lead the design of a pilot facility for the cells that are developed on this project. OXIS will again team up with University College London to develop a novel, non-invasive X-Ray quality control process for cells.
Collaborating with Cranfield University, the ‘Module Development’ activity, OXIS will build on the control algorithms developed on the Revolutionary Electric Vehicle Battery project in order to better estimate SoC and SoH and create intelligent charging algorithms to improve lifetime. OXIS along with Williams Advanced Engineering will also investigate module construction techniques and cell matching in order to establish a final module.