Scientists have engineered a new battery from Lithium-Sulfur cells which is claimed to offer five times the battery life when compared to a normal Lithium-Ion battery.
The international team of scientists working at Melbourne Monash University believe they have finally overcome the hurdle of a short lifespan with a new type of bonding architecture. The new progress means that they have created "unprecedented" battery charge/discharge efficiency in a Lithium-Sulfur battery that could keep a smartphone charged for days or drive an electric vehicle for more than 1000km without recharging.
Until recently, the team working on the project were having major issues with the storage chamber for the sulfur electrodes failing after a small number of cycles. This was leading to a fast deterioration of the battery, shortening its lifespan.
Monash University's Dr Mahdokht Shaibani, the study lead author, told New Atlas
: ”Ironically, a main challenge to mass adoption of lithium-sulfur batteries until now, has been that the storage capacity of sulfur electrode is so large that it cannot manage the resultant stress. Instead, it breaks apart, in the same way we might when placed under stress."
Current experiments have now produced results which present efficiency of 99% over 200 cycles of the Lithium-Sulfur battery. “Which to the best of our knowledge is unprecedented for such high capacity electrodes," says Shaibani to New Atlas.
The next steps are further testing to ensure the longevity of the technology but in the near future, they hope to get the batteries installed in electric cars first. But this technology could eventually come to eMTB bikes which might offer a better solution for longer rides than the current crop of Lithium-Ion batteries. Especially if we see more companies offering the ability to fit two batteries to increase a bike useable range.
The Orbea Wild E-Bike already offers the ability to fit two batteries in order to increase the capacity.
They are currently filling a patent for the Lithium-Sulfur batteries, which alongside the performance claims, is also said to be cheaper and better for the environment. The claimed greener eco-credentials for the Lithium-sulfur batteries come from its different production methods, a water-based process. Study co-author Matthew Hill told New Atlas: "This approach not only favors high-performance metrics and long cycle life, but is also simple and extremely low-cost to manufacture, using water-based processes, and can lead to significant reductions in environmentally hazardous waste."
With a claimed cheaper cost, longer life and greener credentials than Lithium-Ion batteries, it seems like if this technology can make it into large-scale production, it will offer a great alternative to Lithium-Ion batteries for eMTB bikes with the potential to bring costs down while also increasing range. Unfortunately, it looks like we won’t be seeing these batteries in the real world for quite some time.