Bogazici University Chemical Engineering Department faculty member Assoc. Dr. Damla Eroğlu Pala's project will investigate the relationship between battery performance and electrolyte design in order for lithium-sulfur batteries, which are seen as the batteries of the future, to have a longer life.
The project, which will be carried out in cooperation with the Ufa Institute of Chemistry from Russia, is planned to last for three years.
The batteries of the future lithium-sulfur batteries
Stating that the most advanced battery type available, from mobile phones to computers and electric vehicles, is lithium-ion batteries. Dr. Damla Eroğlu Pala emphasizes that lithium-sulfur batteries that are still developing can store five times more energy: “Lithium-sulfur batteries are not yet commercially available, but they are very promising; because it shows five times more theoretical specific energy than a lithium-ion battery and has the potential to be less costly.
Lithium-sulfur batteries use sulfur as the active ingredient, which also reduces the cost of production: “Lithium-ion batteries use expensive cobalt-based materials as active ingredients, and they are only under the control of certain countries. However, the sulfur used in lithium-sulfur batteries is both abundant in nature and cheap and has no toxic effects. "
Assoc. Dr. Pala adds that lithium-sulfur batteries can be used especially in electric cars and for the storage of electricity generated from solar and wind energy, as they have a higher energy storage capacity.
Molecules soluble in electrolyte shorten battery life
Despite all its advantages, the reason why lithium-sulfur batteries cannot be used today is that they are not very long-lasting: “In lithium-sulfur batteries, a large number of intermediate reactions occur at the cathode and as a result of these reactions, molecules called lithium polysulfide that can dissolve in the electrolyte emerge. These molecules enter a transport mechanism between the anode and cathode called the polysulfide shuttle mechanism, causing the battery to lose capacity very quickly and their cycle life to be very short.
Stating that this problem can be solved by changing the electrolyte designs of the batteries, Assoc. Dr. Pala explains what they will do in the project as follows: “The reaction and polysulfide shuttle mechanisms we mentioned are affected by both the amount of electrolyte and the type of solvent and salt used in the electrolyte. What we really want to do is to characterize how the properties of the solvent and salt in the electrolyte and the amount of electrolyte affect these mechanisms. For this, we will try many different types of electrolytes to see how the performance of the battery is affected. ”
It will guide the commercialization of lithium-sulfur batteries
Stating that research methods include both modeling and experimental studies, Assoc. Dr. Damla Eroğlu Pala said, “We will experimentally characterize how the properties, composition and quantity of electrolyte affect the reaction mechanisms in the battery and battery performance, and evaluate the results obtained from these experiments together with quantum chemistry and electrochemical models that we will develop,” used expressions.
Assoc. Dr. Pala emphasizes that even though there are no product development targets within the scope of the project, the results to be achieved will guide the commercialization of lithium-sulfur batteries: “In order for lithium-sulfur batteries to be commercially available, specific energy and cycle life must be increased, therefore the amount and properties of electrolyte are and hence we need to see how it affects battery performance. ”