More than a dozen organizations are partnering to develop a lithium-sulfur battery technology for next-generation electric/hybrid vehicles

By Alex Pluemer, contributing writer

Oxis Energy U.K.
Ltd. is working with 12 other European partners to launch the Lithium Sulfur
for Safe Road Electrification (LISA) project in January 2019, a
collaboration to advance lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery technology that will
enable the safe electrification of electric vehicle (EV) applications. The 43-month
project will receive approximately $9
million in funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and
innovation program.

Lithium-ion (Li-ion)
batteries are currently the limiting factor in the large-scale adoption of EVs
and hybrid vehicles. The next generation of EV battery technology will need to
provide a greater driving range, faster charging at a lower cost, and better
safety, said Oxis.

Li-S technology
is an emerging alternative to Li-ion batteries. The technology doesn’t use any
critical raw materials such as natural graphite and cobalt and it isn’t limited
in capacity and energy by intercalation materials.

 

Image: Shutterstock

LISA will focus
on the development of high-energy Li-S battery cells with hybrid solid-state
non-flammable electrolytes validated at a 20-Ah cell level to help solve the
common problems that are holding back Li-S development, including metallic
lithium protection, power rate, and volumetric energy density, said Oxis. The
group will also focus on cost, which is the primary criteria for EV batteries,
and other factors such as environmental impact that play a key role in the sustainability
of the Li-S technology.

Currently, Li-S
is twice as light as Li-ion and has reached only 10% (250–300 Wh/kg) of the
theoretical energy density of 2,600 Wh/kg at the cell prototype level. LISA believes
that number could double to approximately 600 Wh/kg by improving materials,
components, and manufacturing.

The project is
committed to the development of lithium-metal protection and solid-state
electrolytes and plans on incorporating process concepts to enable integration into
future manufacturing lines, said Oxis. Any new materials, components, cells,
and/or processes that the project implements will be transferrable to other
lithium-anode–based technologies, including Li-ion.

Members of the
LISA consortium, led by LEITAT, a Technological Institute recognized by
the Catalan Government (TECNIO) and the Spanish Ministry of Science and
Innovation, includes Oxis, 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.

More
information on the advantages of Li-S technology can be found here.