The lithium-sulphur industry should unite and share research to advance the technology to the point where it can be commercialised.
The comments were made during the Oxis-organised Lithium Sulphur Batteries: Mechanisms, Modelling and Materials event in London, UK last week.
Delegates were told a programme where companies shared their research into lithium-sulphur every six months would help the technology progress and compete with lithium-ion.
The hope is that advances in lithium-sulphur chemistry will make the technology cheaper and lighter, while increasing capacity and cycle life.
David Aisworth, lithium-sulphur firm Oxis’ chief technical officer, said: “We must try to have a programme where we bring all the research together every six months.”
English firm Oxis aims to target the electric vehicle, defence and solar storage markets when it brings its product to market.
Lithium-sulphur allows for a theoretical specific energy in excess of 2700Wh/kg, which is nearly five times higher than that of lithium-ion, claims Oxis.
But, and this is an important point, Oxis has only managed around 325wh/kg and predicts it will reach 400wh/kg in 2016 and 500wh/kg by 2019.
Mark Wild, programme manager at Oxis Energy, said: “This is a complex field and over the past few years we are finding out more on how to model the chemistry.
“There’s a huge community out there doing great work looking at the fundamentals of lithium-sulphur, building models and getting a better understanding of the technology.”
However, the feeling at the meeting was voiced by a speaker who said lithium-sulphur technology was still at the ‘testing stage’.
Wild said: “We are getting to the point where lithium-sulphur will not be a one cell solves all problems. I see the chemistry diversifying and different solutions at different ends of the spectrum, whether that’s a need for higher cycles or longer life.
“Much the same as lithium-ion there is no one solution to all problems. We are getting to the point where we are getting to that level of understanding.”