High Entropy Lithium Sulfur Battery

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We are currently in a race to find methods of storing energy that can be used for future electric vehicles and to store the massive amounts of renewable energy as we transition from a fossil fuel energy system to a clean, renewable energy system. Unfortunately, many of the materials we use for our current batteries are reaching their limits in the amount of energy they can store. Lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries have garnered significant attention due to their high theoretical energy density, environmental friendliness, and the abundance of sulfur. Li-S batteries offer a significantly higher theoretical energy density compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries, potentially enabling longer-lasting and lighter energy storage solutions. However, practical application has been hampered by several challenges, such as the polysulfide shuttle effect, low sulfur utilization, and poor cycle life. High entropy materials (HEMs), which exhibit a unique combination of multiple principal elements leading to high configurational entropy, present a promising avenue to address these issues.

The incorporation of HEMs into the design of Li-S batteries helps to solve several problems with this type of battery. One of the main problems with current designs is the formation of polysulfides, which significantly reduce the cycle life of the battery. The introduction of high entropy materials into the cathode material greatly reduces the formation of these compounds and extends the cycle life, creating a battery with long cycle life and high capacity. The incorporation of HEMs also enhances the conductivity of the cathode, as sulfur itself is an insulator. The increase in conductivity increases the overall efficiency of the battery. The use of HEMs also provides structural stability, as they exhibit excellent resistance to the stresses from repeated volume changes found during repeated charging and discharging cycles.

Current batteries in the marketplace are concentrated around lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) compositions. LFP batteries generally have lower energy capacity (160 Wh/kg), while NMC batteries have higher energy capacities (200-275 Wh/kg) but contain hard-to-source and expensive materials. A Li-S battery utilizes sulfur, which is abundant, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly, making them an attractive alternative for sustainable energy applications and having a greatly increased energy capacity of 550 Wh/kg. The Li-S battery can be manufactured using many of the same industrial processes as existing cell manufacturing, creating a seamless transition in the industrial space.

High entropy materials represent a novel and promising approach to overcoming the challenges faced by lithium-sulfur batteries. By leveraging the unique properties of HEMs, such as enhanced conductivity, structural stability, and polysulfide immobilization, a Li-S battery paves the way for more efficient and durable energy storage, enabling EVs to travel further and facilitating greater utilization of renewable energy such as wind and solar.

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  • ABOUT THE ENTRANT

  • Name:
    Tim Ritter
  • Type of entry:
    individual
  • Patent status:
    none