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lithium-sulfur

Discovery sweetens the opportunity for lithium-sulfur commercialisation

Wed, 09/22/2021 - 14:06 -- paul Crompton

Scientists at an Australian university have stabilised lithium-sulfur batteries by using sugar on its positive electrode.

A team from the Monash Energy Institute— a cross faculty initiative at the the Monash University— used a glucose-based additive on the positive electrode to create a sustainable rival to lithium-ion batteries.

Test coin-cell prototypes constructed by the team retained 60% capacity after 1,000 cycles.

The team's pouch-cell prototypes reported in their manuscript were 3cm x 5cm, with an overall capacity of ~ 04-0.5Ah. Its recent pouches exceed the ones reported in the article and are ~ 1Ah.

The research by the Monash team, assisted by Australian government agency The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, was published in the scientific journal Nature Communications

Professor Mainak Majumder, associate director of the Monash Energy Institute, said that in less than a decade the technology could lead to vehicles travelling more than 800km without recharging. 

In theory, lithium-sulfur batteries can store up to five times more specific energy than lithium-ion batteries—  but the electrodes deteriorate rapidly because the positive sulfur electrode weakens due to substantial expansion and contraction causing the negative lithium electrode to become contaminated by sulfur compounds.

Last year, the Monash team opened the structure of the sulfur electrode to accommodate expansion and make it more accessible to lithium. 

Now, by incorporating sugar into the web-like architecture of the electrode they have stabilised the sulfur, preventing it from moving and blanketing the lithium electrode.

First author and PhD student Yingyi Huang and her colleagues were inspired by a 1988 geochemistry report that described how sugar-based substances resist degradations in geological sediments by forming strong bonds with sulfides.

Dr Mahdokht Shaibani, second author and Monash researcher, said: “While many of the challenges on the cathode side of the battery has been solved by our team, there is still need for further innovation into the protection of the lithium metal anode to enable large-scale uptake of this promising technology – innovations that may be right around the corner.”

The process was developed by the Monash team with significant contribution from Dr Matthew Hill’s research group in CSIRO Manufacturing.

Energy research and innovation company Enserv Australia hopes to develop and manufacture the batteries in Australia.

A spokesmn for Monash told BEST: "Certain aspects have been licensed to Enserv Australia. Whilst it has been an absolute delight to work with Enserv group,  currently, our engagement with Enserv  on this battery technology has been completed.  We are looking forward to working with new venture partners to take the technology forward. It is our expectation that advanced prototypes will supercede the current technology at our disposal

Mark Gustowski, managing director of Enserv Australia, said his firm would look to use the technology to enter the electric vehicles and electronic devices market. 

He said: “We plan to make the first lithium-sulfur batteries in Australia using Australian lithium within about five years.”

New salts for lithium-ion

Scientists at the Monash University School of Chemistry in Australia have developed an alternative to hexafluorophosphate salt for lithium-ion battery electrolytes.

The electrolyte was developed under the leadership of professor Doug MacFarlane and Dr Mega Kar alongside battery developer Calix.

The synthesised battery grade fluoroborate salt, made using a recrystallisation process, was found to be stable even when exposed to air. 

When used in a battery with lithium-manganese-oxide cathodes, the cell achieved more than 1,000 cycles, even after atmospheric exposure, reported the team.

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Johnson Matthey steps up to buy assets and IP of lithium-sulfur firm Oxis

Mon, 08/02/2021 - 11:18 -- paul Crompton
Oxis lithium-sulfur battery

Johnson Matthey has bought the intellectual property and assets of fellow UK firm and lithium-sulfur pioneer Oxis Energy.

As well as acquiring the assets and intellectual property of Oxis Energy, Johnson Matthey will also take up the lease at its premises at Culham Science Park, Oxford, UK.

The deal was finalised on 28 July, just over two months after the appointment of administrators.

A Johnson Matthey spokesperson told BEST the company was not disclosing the financial details of the acquisition at this time.

They added: “With moderate additional investment in upgrades, this transaction will significantly accelerate the scale-up of JM’s growing Green Hydrogen business.

“The physical assets of Oxis Energy serve multiple purposes: the physical assets at the Culham Science Park location allows JM’s Green Hydrogen business to develop, test, and produce catalyst coated membranes; battery testing equipment provides additional testing and quality control capability for Battery Materials product development

“The Intellectual property relating to lithium-sulfur battery technologies – a disruptive next generation battery materials technology – presents opportunities for JM’s Battery Materials business to advance its development of future battery materials technologies.”

The sale of the assets and intellectual property of Oxis Energy deal was secured by BDO business restructuring partners Simon Girling and Chris Marsden, with a team comprising of senior manager Douglas Cecil and senior executive Mike Griffiths. 

With premises in Abingdon, Oxfordshire and in South Wales, Oxis was a developer of lithium-sulfur batteries. 

Girling said: "We are pleased to have secured the sale of assets and intellectual property of OXIS Energy. With the help of TLT Solicitors, Gordon Brothers, Marsh and PHD Property, we were able to preserve the asset base in challenging conditions. This will enable a significant distribution to be made to creditors.”

Oxis announced it was on the brink of collapse in June after failing to secure the funding it needed to continue its research. 

 
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Oxis blames COVID for having to suspend operations of its lithium-sulphur business

Mon, 03/01/2021 - 10:11 -- Vic

UK lithium-sulfur battery firm Oxis has ‘suspended operations’ including putting a halt on its $5 million ten-year contract with Yachts de Luxe (YdL) of Singapore.

The company cited COVID as a reason for the halt in production in operations, despite infection rates in the UK reaching a four-month low, and as the firm’s staff “gradually” returning to work.

However, the company told BEST it was continuing with operations at its Port Talbot, Wales, facility, which is due to start producing cathode and electrolyte to support the production of 500,000 lithium-sulfur cells this year. The Oxford-based firm's Minas Gerais Development Company Codemge project in Brazil "ought not be adversely affected".

Oxis said it is working with its board of directors on accessing short-term funding while it waits for investment funds— signed last year— to be received.

The company was unable to provide more information on its finances at this time. 

A statement to BEST read: “Due to the growing number of new COVID infections across the UK, Oxis board and management feel a responsibility to staff health-and-safety and continued business operations. 

“Following UK government guidelines in line with the UK National Lockdown, Oxis has decided to temporarily suspend operations until the COVID infection rates have reduced significantly according to the UK government. We shall operate with a skeletal number of staff to keep the essential functions running.”

An Oxis spokesman said: “Staff are gradually coming back to work. Oxis will be fully operational by April.

“Whilst work is continuing with the operation in Port Talbot, due to a skeletal staff, we felt that it was appropriate to temporarily halt the Yachts de Luxe project.“

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DOE researchers increase lithium-sulfur battery performance using silica cathodes

Thu, 09/10/2020 - 10:14 -- paul Crompton

Researchers at U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have found a polar, nonconductive cathode can increase the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries.

Using physical and electrochemical probes, the researchers discovered that under varying cycling rates and loadings, even at high current densities, a silica-based cathode showed better cycle-life in lithium-sulfur batteries.

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Lithium-sulfur battery developer Oxis hires cell production manager for UK plant

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 12:37 -- paul Crompton

Lithium-sulfur battery technology company Oxis Energy has hired Scott Davis to manage cell production at its new manufacturing plant in Wales.

Davis will manage the Oxford-based firm’s new facility at Kenfig Hill near Port Talbot, which is due to start producing cathode and electrolyte to support the production of 500,000 lithium-sulfur cells next year.

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Oxis Energy and Codemge sign lease agreement to build world's first Li-S manufacturing plant

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 15:25 -- paul Crompton

Oxis Energy and the Minas Gerais Development Company Codemge aim to have a 200MWh lithium-sulfur cell manufacturing plant operating in Brazil within three years after leasing a plant from Mercedes Benz Brazil (MBB).

The UK firm has signed a 15-year-lease agreement to take possession of a plant located at the MBB manufacturing site in Juiz de Fora, in the state of Minas Gerais, in south east Brazil.

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Scientists in China develop high-performance lithium-sulfur battery cathode

Wed, 04/22/2020 - 14:06 -- paul Crompton

Scientists at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have developed a cathode they claim will increase the performance capabilities of lithium-sulfur batteries.

Teams led by professor Jian Liu (pictured) and professor Zhongshuai Wu have increased the catalytic activity and sulfur loading of lithium-sulfur batteries by using a mesoporous carbon nanoreactor decorated with Fe1-xS electrocatalyst nanoparticles (Fe1-xS-NC) as the cathode. 

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Oxis Energy marches toward 600Wh/kg lithium-sulfur goal after hitting another milestone

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 14:45 -- paul Crompton

Lithium-sulfur company Oxis Energy continues to go from strength to strength with news this week its prototype cells have reached 471Wh/kg.

The company has been making incremental advances with the technology since announcing it had reached its 400Wh/kg milestone in 2016.

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Quantum leap for battery research as team use super computer to develop lithium-sulfur batteries

Fri, 01/10/2020 - 11:58 -- paul Crompton

Researchers at IBM and vehicle OEM Daimler have used a quantum computer to help them design next-generation lithium-sulfur batteries.

Scientists used quantum hardware to calculate the dipole moment of three lithium-containing molecules for lithium hydride (LiH) using four qubits— a basic unit of quantum information— on IBM’s Q Valencia quantum computer.

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Oxis signs trading deal with Sanyo Trading to target Japan market with its lithium-sulfur technology

Fri, 11/22/2019 - 10:37 -- paul Crompton

A trading partnership will see Sanyo Trading Company market UK battery developer Oxis Energy’s lithium-sulfur and battery systems in Japan.

Sanyo will target the motive markets­– such as trains, buses and trucks–and provide pre and post sales support to the Japanese market and where necessary.

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