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Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/22/2017 7:50 AM

I thought this was some cool news. I'm not sure if this will lead to a widespread shift in battery material but at the very least it should find some applications.

A new, gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

Yale scientists have developed an ultra-thin coating material that has the potential to extend the life and improve the efficiency of lithium-sulfur batteries, one of the most promising areas of energy research today. In a study published online March 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers describe the new material — a dendrimer-graphene oxide composite film — which can be applied to any sulfur cathode. A cathode is the positive terminal on a battery.

According to the researchers, sulfur cathodes coated with the material can be stably discharged and recharged for more than 1,000 cycles, enhancing the battery’s efficiency and number of cycles. “Our approach is general in that it can be integrated with virtually any kind of sulfur electrode to increase cycling stability,” said Hailiang Wang, assistant professor of chemistry at Yale, faculty member at the Yale Energy Sciences Institute at Yale West Campus, and lead investigator of the study. “The developed film is so thin and light it will not affect the overall size or weight of the battery, and thus it will function without compromising the energy and power density of the device.”

New types of electrodes — positive and negative terminals — are considered essential for the development of a new generation of high energy-density batteries. As lithium-ion batteries begin to reach their capacity limits, many researchers are looking at lithium-sulfur as a solution. Sulfur is both lightweight and abundant, with a high theoretical energy capacity. However, existing lithium-sulfur battery technology suffers from a loss of capacity during cycling. The Yale team made its discovery by combining the distinct properties of two material components. They merged the mechanical strength of graphene oxide with the ability of a dendrimer molecule to confine lithium polysulfides. The result is a gel-like slurry that can be readily coated as a 100-nanometer-thin film onto sulfur electrodes.

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#1

Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/22/2017 8:41 AM

Here's another research report about improvments in LiS batteries.

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#2

Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/22/2017 8:49 AM

This is great news. Lithium Sulfur batteries have 5 times the energy density of Lithium Ion batteries and are cheaper to produce.

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#3

Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/22/2017 10:26 AM

That is cool...

..."sulfur, lithium-sulfur batteries offer a very high specific energy of 550Wh/kg, about three times that of Li-ion"...

http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/experimental_rechargeable_batteries

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#4
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/22/2017 2:47 PM

Batteries are one thing. I am working on a plan to make it possible to run a fuel-cell vehicle cross country on hydrogen, but it does require the marriage of three technologies, none of which are completely mature, the first tripod leg being the fuel-cell itself. I cannot divulge the other two legs for now, due to confidentiality within my small group of researchers. There is the use of a new rechargeable battery technology that is another leg.

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#5
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/22/2017 4:26 PM

How close are you to having all three legs? Or is it hard to say? Very exciting!

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#7
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/22/2017 4:40 PM

I would say in a real sense, all three legs exist, and no one has put the stool together yet! I put forth my idea to my group in an email last night. I am hoping for a quick response, and a patent application from the certified public engineer in the group.

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#11
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/23/2017 11:43 AM

I guess, one of the 2 legs is coconut. But, I doubt it.

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#13
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/23/2017 12:22 PM

It might could actually have something to do with coconut, but I ain't sayin'.

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#6
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/22/2017 4:30 PM

Where will you get the hydrogen? I'm assuming you will need to fill up the tank a few times...

They had a hydrogen fuel cars tour back in '08...

http://www.hydrogenenergycenter.org/projects/hydrogen-road-tour

There were some critics...

http://gizmodo.com/5041134/first-ever-hydrogen-vehicle-cross-country-road-trip-had-a-lot-of-help

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#8
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/22/2017 4:42 PM

Shhh....they call those things secrets for a reason. Sorry, but right now, I will not say.

The only clue I leave you with is, it is all around you, less in the desert.

Second clue, not nuclear, although some bastard will probably try that, and kill us all.

What we don't want to do is "go off" prematurely, and wind up going cross country on a tow truck.

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#9
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/23/2017 12:11 AM

I played around with the hydrogen fueled engine concept for a while some years ago.

Some notable things I found.

1. It takes near to lower end diesel level compression, ~15:1 or better, to get the power out of it which a stock gasoline engine can't handle. (My B&S test engines literally blew their heads off once modified to run at that ratios.)

2. The amount of hydrogen gas required to get the best power and mechanical efficiency is slightly higher than stoichiometric which by mass A/F ratio comparisons sounds impressively lean at ~ 30 - 32:1 but when factored by equivalent volumes is a hydrogen gas sucking ~2.2 - 2.3:1 A/F ratio which means you need a butt load of tank and feed rate volume capacity to power any decent sized vehicle engine at load for any length of time.

3. Upside to all that is a common diesel engine modified to replace the fuel injectors with spark plugs and the injection pump with a distributor plus adding a vapor carburetor system common to propane and natural gas power engines to its intake makes setting up a stable runnable prototype fairly cheap and straightforward without doing any major custom internal engine work.

That's what my playing with it showed me. It's totally doable with already well known and established off the shelf components if a person so wants to. No high tech anything needed really. Just a stout engine with moderately high compression and a vapor carburetor system that can handle a high volume of vapor fuel for the amount of air it lets through.

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#10
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/23/2017 10:46 AM

hydrogen fuel cell technology should easily surpass ICE in terms of power, and efficiency. High technology components of the fuel cell, is at least a slight disadvantage, but there have been advances to the electrodes recently touted.

I am still waiting for my people to say they green lighted this project, and are on it.

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#14
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/23/2017 1:16 PM

I don't do much with high end high cost 'still in development' stuff.

Cheap off the shelf and proven to be workable is my area I play in being my associate base and I are those who don't have unlimited financial resources to burn up chasing theories plus, they like me, actually like to have stuff that works for what money they do spend.

We'll take cheap and functional plus actually workable with marginal efficiency over expensive and doesn't work but has higher theoretical efficiency and day!

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#15
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/23/2017 1:28 PM

Those are certainly valid points, and the fuel-cell is not required as part of the tripod. ICE can be utilized, just as you deftly pointed out. The other two legs will fit in nicely with it, although the other two legs would have to be scaled up larger to accommodate a power requirement at lower thermal efficiency.

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#16
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/23/2017 1:42 PM

The #1 stumbling block I have is the hydrogen fuel storage system.

I based my estimations no matching the basic engine power my 99 Ford F250 Super Duty pickup has on propane with the driving range the ~28 gallon fuel tank for gasoline operation gave it.

Unfortunately that came out to needing a tank that could hold roughly 24,000 cubic feet of hydrogen gas which even when equated to a tank size equivalent toe 82 gallon tank I have the propane system running off of that worked out to needing a tank pressure of ~15,000 PSI to do it.

Totally impractical ROI numbers by standards. Especially when competing against well known and dirt cheap propane fuel and related components that are for the most part 100% drop in and go compatible with existing engine technology plus as a fuel source already found everywhere for cheap.

Personally for me the only realistically potentially cheaper alternative fuel conversion at this time is to set up a modern diesel engine to run on used oil.

I like the idea of the lithium sulfur battery tech with 5x the energy density of current battery tech but still charging the damn things at the energy levels that a typical vehicle requires is still way beyond practical.

More efficient driveline or not dumping a megawatt hour worth of energy into a vehicle through an electrical connection in under 15 minutes isn't simple, cheap or easy.

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#17
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/23/2017 1:55 PM

Yeah. Storage options may change in the near future because of emerging discoveries about hydrogen storage on graphene, really!

However, without revealing my tripod, mine does not necessarily utilize storage. It does not involve long gas hoses either, so there.

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#18
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/23/2017 5:31 PM

Storage can only go so far with hydrogen on its own. Givnethe ~851:1 expansion ratio form liquid to gas form to get my ~24,000 cubic feet of gas I would need ~ 212 gallons of liquid hydrogen.

Even with a unrealistically high fuel cell and electric driveline that is 4x better (>80% Vs <20%) than my IC engine powered pickup I would still need a 55+ gallon fuel tank to drive it the same distance as it can now on ~28 gallons of gasoline or propane.

That's the flaw behind the hydrogen economy. It just doesn't scale as effectively or as cheaply as hydrocarbon based liquid fuels do for mobile power applications.

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#23
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/24/2017 2:23 PM

Ok, I will bite. Suppose (and this has already been done), we take the hydrogen and move it to a stationary source and store it in synthetic diesel (this is not a giant leap for a good chemical engineer)? Then you simply re-harvest the CO2 and send it through another spin cycle. I know if we are talking about your present ride, it is best to leave it on diesel just like it is.

I am referring to something like an INGOCAR, with opposing piston engine, variable compression fuel injection timing. Computer controlled fuel management makes burning blends of things like hydrogen and diesel a possibility also.

Designed to have snap on different body styles, basic design is supposed to be good to 1000 mile range, and that at 166 miles/gallon fuel. Something as good as that, I think even fuel cell would have trouble competing against any time soon.

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#21
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/24/2017 1:25 PM

Carbon plus hydrogen, that would be just making fossil fuel isn't it? that's a sticky mess

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#22
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/24/2017 2:18 PM

STFU - you have no idea what you are talking about.

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#19
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/24/2017 8:50 AM

Just went over this stuff with the physics doctorate in our group, and even he sees an issue with my plan having sufficient range. I replied: " Then run the MFICE on diesel for half the trip (ditch the fuel cell, until it also can run on diesel - even though it has less mass, operates with higher power output with less fuel, etc., no fuel flexibility).

The problem is still in the details of the hydrogen system, and a slight one with recycling of other materials used.

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#20
In reply to #4

Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/24/2017 1:03 PM

That will be cool! I see the Honda is only capable for up to 360 miles, so you must have Hydrogen producing technology along with your new product. Good for you, and can't wait to see it unveiled!

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#24
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/24/2017 2:28 PM

Well, the physics dude in our group just nicked the idea really hard, but we are debating even a combination use with half diesel - half hydrogen. So far, we think it might theoretically possible, but there are issues with pushing certain engineering aspects to the limits (while still expecting this technology to work when the limiting values are not the boundary values for the trip at hand).

Back to the chalk board! That one leg is kicking my butt right now. But do not despair, I am closer than ever. Even old steam locomotives had ways of crossing a continent. It might be a day from now, a week, or a month, or a year, but this idea is full of promise, and at least 2/3 of it is already here. I have just not quite peered over the mountain in front of me yet.

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#25
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/25/2017 10:21 PM

The old steam locomotives stopped for fuel and water about every 5 - 20 miles depending on their load and terrain. They did not go transcontinental nonstop.

That's the more realistic outcome of a hydrogen economy. We stop for fuel way more often.

SImilar to the second side of the thread topic of a new type of battery with %X the energy density of present lithium units.

Sure it will make EV range and power capacities that rival most IC engines and hydrocarbon fuels possible but those batteries still need to be charged and that energy has to come from some place and right now world wide no country has a national power grid and generating capacity to handle having it's base load increased by a magnitude of order or better.

And then there's the problem that with vehicle like the 166 mile per gallon equivalent vehicle mentioned earlier that little golf cart ain't going to carry a family of four 6' 4" 250+ pound peole like mine nor will it carry the payloads I use my 3/4 ton pickup for nearly every day.

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#26
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Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/27/2017 4:32 PM

It can come as a luxury sedan or a 4X4, your family still won't fit? WOW!

You missed the part where other body styles simply snap on (bolt on).

I still have not built one, so I will STFU for now. If I get one up and running, I hope we can talk again.

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#12

Re: Flaw in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Solved

03/23/2017 11:48 AM

I just hope it's not 3 times a shocker battery. It could be a potential c4 or tnt to be hand carried.

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