Method to Improve Li-S Battery Performance

Idaho National Laboratory Background
Lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries are recognized as one of the most promising next generation energy storage technologies. The high theoretical energy density of Li-S batteries makes them a promising candidate in grid scale energy storage and electric vehicle applications. Unfortunately, current Li-S battery technologies suffer from early capacity fade during normal cycling. This is due to battery self-discharge and the formation of dead lithium. Researchers at INL have discovered that applying high pressure to Li-S pouch cells can substantially improve cycling performance and Columbic efficiency.
Technology Overview
Research at INL in this area has uncovered methods to improve Li-S performance via in situ monitoring of pressure applied to test cells. External stack pressure has been demonstrated to stabilize the Li-metal anode while maintaining sulfur cathode connectivity without cracking. The application of pressure greatly improves cycling performance and increases the energy density of Li-S batteries.
Development Status
TRL 4. Technology has been validated in a laboratory environment.
Further Details
Chinnam, P. R., Xu, L., Cai, L., Cordes, N. L., Kim, S., Efaw, C. M., Murray, D. J., Dufek, E. J., Xu, H., Li, B., Unlocking Failure Mechanisms and Improvement of Practical Li–S Pouch Cells through In Operando Pressure Study. Adv. Energy Mater. 2021, 2103048.

Improves the performance capabilities of Li-sulfur batteries.
The porosity of cathodes can be easily optimized by adjusting pressures.
Dendrite growth at the anode side can be mechanically prevented.
Interconnection of electrode materials can be enhanced by applying high pressure, which can help decrease cell resistances.

This technology could be what is necessary to demonstrate the next generation capabilities of Li-S batteries.


Pouch cell Li-S battery systems
Electric vehicles

Idaho National Laboratory (INL), managed and operated by Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC (BEA), is offering the opportunity to enter into a license and/or collaborative research agreement to commercialize this approach to improving Li-S battery perofmance. This technology transfer opportunity is part of a dedicated effort to convert government-funded research into job opportunities, businesses and ultimately an improved way of life for the American people.
INL is seeking to license the above intellectual property to a company with a demonstrated ability to bring such inventions to the market. Exclusive rights in defined fields of use may be available. Added value is placed on relationships with small businesses, start-up companies, and general entrepreneurship opportunities.

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