A pinch of sugar could improve batteries in the future, study says

by Kelvin
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Batteries made of lithium and sulfur, which use materials that are cheaper and more abundant in nature than those used today – such as nickel and manganese – retain two to five times more energy per kilogram than lithium-ion batteries. Their problem is that they degrade quickly. But this appears to have been resolved by a team of researchers at Monash University (Australia). The study was published in the scientific journal Nature Communications on September 10th.

The researchers found that by adding sugar as a sort of web around the sulfur electrode, the batteries could be recharged at least a thousand times. With sugar, the positive sulfur electrode does not quickly weaken or become inaccessible to lithium, as it used to be with this type of battery. Now, a single charge should be able to move an electric vehicle for nearly a thousand kilometers without the need to stop.

The research team says it can build a prototype battery that can store two to three times more energy than a lithium-ion battery of the same size. And the most interesting thing is that the manufacture of these batteries would be cheaper than batteries such as those currently used, since the new ones use sulfur, a cheap and abundant element, in their composition.

  

For the study’s lead author, scientist Mainak Majumder, who is director of the Monash Energy Institute, in less than a decade the technology they are developing will be able to move electric buses and trucks for nearly two thousand kilometers without needing to recharge. The statement was made in a university press release.

But we will still need to wait a while to get access to the new technology: the researchers said that, although they have overcome many obstacles that stand in the way of long-lasting lithium-sulfur batteries, there is still a need for more advances to enable the use of this technology. promising large-scale technology.

ARTICLE Nature Communications: doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25612-5.