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- Energy & Environmental Science
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- National Science Foundation
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(Digital Presentation) Accelerating the Conversion Process of Polysulfides in High Mass Loading Sulfur Cathode for the Longevity Li-S BatteryConventional lithium-ion batteries are unable to meet the increasing demands for high-energy storage systems, because of their limited theoretical capacity. 1 In recent years, intensive attention has been paid to enhancing battery energy storage capability to satisfy the increasing energy demand in modern society and reduce the average energy capacity cost. Among the candidates for next generation high energy storage systems, the lithium sulfur battery is especially attractive because of its high theoretical specific energy (around 2600 W h kg-1) and potential cost reduction. In addition, sulfur is a cost effective and environmentally friendly material due to its abundance and low-toxicity. 2 Despite all of these advantages, the practical application of lithium sulfur batteries to date has been hindered by a series of obstacles, including low active material loading, poor cycle life, and sluggish sulfur conversion kinetics. 3 Achieving high mass loading cathode in the traditional 2D planar thick electrode has been challenged. The high distorsion of the traditional planar thick electrodes for ion/electron transfer leads to the limited utilization of active materials and high resistance, which eventually results in restricted energy density and accelerated electrode failure. 4 Furthermore, of the electrolyte to pores in the cathode and utilization ratiomore »
Here we present a 1D model of a Li-Sulfur battery with physically derived geometric parameters and thermodynamically consistent electrochemical kinetics. The approach enables straightforward comparison of proposed Li-S mechanisms and provides insights into the influence of polysulfide intermediates on battery discharge. Comparing predictions from multiple mechanisms demonstrates the need for both lithiated and non-lithiated polysulfide species, and highlights the challenge of developing parameter estimates for complex electrochemical mechanisms. The model is also used to explore cathode design strategies. Discharge performance and polysulfide concentrations for electrolyte/sulfur ratios in the range 2–4
μL mg−1identifies trade-offs that limit battery energy and power density, and highlights the risk of polysulfide precipitation. New cathode and electrolyte approaches must limit polysulfide concentrations in the electrolyte, both to unlock better rate capabilities in Li-S technology and to prevent capacity fade due to polysulfide precipitation.
A dual-role electrolyte additive for simultaneous polysulfide shuttle inhibition and redox mediation in sulfur batteriesIn Li–S batteries, the insulating nature of sulfur and Li 2 S causes enormous challenges, such as high polarization and low active material utilization. The nucleation of the solid discharge product, Li 2 S, during the discharge cycle, and the activation of Li 2 S in the subsequent charge cycle, cause a potential challenge that needs to be overcome. Moreover, the shuttling of soluble lithium polysulfide intermediate species results in active material loss and early capacity fade. In this study, we have used thiourea as an electrolyte additive and showed that it serves as both a redox mediator to overcome the Li 2 S activation energy barrier and a shuttle inhibitor to mitigate the notorious polysulfide shuttling via the investigation of thiourea redox activity, shuttle current measurements and study of Li 2 S activation. The steady-state shuttle current of the Li–S battery shows a 6-fold drop when 0.02 M thiourea is added to the standard electrolyte. Moreover, by adding thiourea, the charge plateau for the first cycle of the Li 2 S based cathodes shifts from 3.5 V (standard ether electrolyte) to 2.5 V (with 0.2 M thiourea). Using this additive, the capacity of the Li–S battery stabilizes at ∼839more »
The electrochemical behavior of sulfur-based batteries is intrinsically governed by polysulfide species. Here, we compare the substitutions of selenium and tellurium into polysulfide chains and demonstrate their beneficial impact on the chemistry of lithium–sulfur batteries. While selenium-substituted polysulfides enhance cathode utilization by effectively catalyzing the sulfur/Li 2 S conversion reactions due to the preferential formation of radical intermediates, tellurium-substituted polysulfides improve lithium cycling efficiency by reducing into a passivating interfacial layer on the lithium surface with low Li + -ion diffusion barriers. This unconventional strategy based on “molecular engineering” of polysulfides and exploiting the intrinsic polysulfide shuttle effect is validated by a ten-fold improvement in the cycle life of lean-electrolyte “anode-free” pouch cells. Assembled with no free lithium metal at the anode, the anode-free configuration maximizes the energy density, mitigates the challenges of handling thin lithium foils, and eliminates self-discharge upon cell assembly. The insights generated into the differences between selenium and tellurium chemistries can be applied to benefit a broad range of metal–chalcogen batteries as well as chalcogenide solid electrolytes.
Enabling High-Rate Long-lifespan Lithium-Sulfur Batteries via Stereolithography Technique and Oxidative Chemical Vapor DepositionEnhancing battery energy storage capability and reducing the cost per average energy capacity is urgent to satisfy the increasing energy demand in modern society. The lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery is especially attractive because of its high theoretical specific energy (around 2600 W h kg-1), low cost, and low toxicity.1 Despite these advantages, the practical utilization of lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries to date has been hindered by a series of obstacles, including low active material loading, shuttle effects, and sluggish sulfur conversion kinetics.2 The traditional 2D planer thick electrode is considered as a general approach to enhance the mass loading of the Li-S battery.3 However, the longer diffusion length of lithium ions, which resulted in high tortuosity in the compact stacking thick electrode, decreases the penetration ability of the electrolyte into the entire cathode.4 Although an effort to induce catalysts in the cathode was made to promote sulfur conversion kinetic conditions, catalysts based on transition metals suffered from the low electronic conductivity, and some elements (i.e.: Co, Mn) may even absorb and restrict polysulfides for further reaction. 5 To mitigate the issues listed above, herein we propose a novel sulfur cathode design strategy enabled by additive manufacturing and oxidative chemical vapor deposition (oCVD).more »