Sulfur super accumulator to cost sixth of Li-ion accumulators

It’s all about sulphur, but the devil isn’t involved: A new super rechargeable battery should for the first time do without expensive lithium and thus drastically reduce the price of electromobility.

Instead of a lithium compound, aluminum and sulfur are used to store the electrical energy, and salt is also used. Other than lithium, all of the materials used are very common and therefore cheap, which should drastically reduce battery manufacturing costs!

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The new technology was developed at the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA and is now being presented for the first time. The basis of the research was the search for inexpensive components for an electric car battery.

“I wanted to invent something that is better, much better than lithium-ion batteries,” says initiator Donald Sadoway. The professor emeritus for materials engineering cooperated in the project with 15 other researchers from the USA, Canada and China.

Salt separates aluminum from sulfur

The preliminary result of their work is a battery with electrodes made of aluminum and sulphur, which are insulated from one another by a layer of chloroaluminate salt. The advantage of this memory, Sadoway is quoted in the MIT press service, is that it is non-flammable. There is therefore no risk of the battery catching fire due to overheating.
In addition, the salt prevents the formation of dendrites. These metal needles form during operation of lithium-ion batteries and reduce storage capacity over time. In the worst case, they can cause a short circuit and thus total failure of the battery.
According to Sadoway, this property was discovered rather accidentally. For him, the focus is on cost-effectiveness: According to the US scientist’s calculations, the material costs are only one-sixth those of an electric car battery. In view of the considerable expenses for a replacement battery to date, this could decisively advance the spread of electromobility.

A company does the testing

However, it will probably be a while before the aluminum-sulphur battery is on the market: in previous experiments, a service life of several hundred charging cycles was achieved. Today’s e-car batteries last several thousand charging cycles. In addition, the loading speed should be “extraordinarily” high. Sadoway speaks of a minute charging time, but he does not reveal the capacity of the research battery.
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Lithium-ion batteries for electric cars are very expensive; this is also due to the high price for the rare lithium.

The next step is to subject the new battery to a series of tests. Avanti, a company founded by Sadoway, takes over. The professor recently received the European Inventor Award for a further development in battery technology. He considers his aluminum-sulphur battery to be ideal for serving as stationary as well as mobile storage in the order of a few tens of kilowatt hours of storage capacity.

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