Current generation of electric vehicles (EVs) rely on lithium-ion batteries for power. While these batteries have their own advantages, the disadvantages cannot be ignored. Li-Ion batteries have longer life; but their energy storage capacity is very limited. Researchers have demonstrated that Lithium-Sulfur batteries can store as much as 4X the charge as compared to the Li-Ion batteries and have the potential to make it to EVs. The Lithium-Sulphur batteries can help extend the range of electric vehicles significantly.
The biggest obstacle, however, is that Li-Sulfur batteries have a shorter life-span because they can't be charged as many times as li-ion batteries. The unwanted reactions in Li-Sulfur batteries at the cathode, lead to dissolution of cathode itself in the liquid electrolyte. Researchers have been focusing on eliminating this problem so that Li-Sulfur batteries can be adopted into the mainstream.
The latest research conducted at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has led to development of a special type of nanomaterial, called "metal organic framework" (MOF). This material, in the form of fine powder, when applied to the cathode has shown that the polysulfides can be captured and the battery life can be extended. The experiments showed that MOF coated cathode could retain about ~90% of its initial power capacity even after about 100 charging and discharging cycles.
Researchers are now working on improving the effectiveness of the MOF so that the batteries can hold more energy even after several charging/discharging cycles.
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