Brisbane-based Li-S Energy has developed a 20-layer battery cell that utilizes semi-solid state lithium sulfur battery technology. The company claims that the new cell has nearly twice the gravimetric energy density and equivalent volumetric energy density compared to lithium-ion cells.
In an effort to bring this technology closer to commercialization, Australian listed company Li-S Energy has announced the development of the first 20-layer battery cells using third generation (GEN3) semi-solid state lithium sulfur battery technology.
Li-S Energy has collaborated with the likes of Victoria’s Deakin University and PPK Group to develop new battery cells that eliminate the heavy metals used in lithium-ion batteries, such as nickel, cobalt and manganese.
Li-S Energy’s cell is said to offer a volumetric energy density of 540 Wh/l, a gravimetric energy density of over 400 Wh/kg, and improved safety by using a low-flammability electrolyte.
The GEN3 battery cell has major advantages over the second generation iteration, including a 45% increase in volumetric energy density due to the use of a lower porosity cathode material.
Compared to current Li-ion cells, this performance is almost double the gravimetric energy density and the corresponding volumetric energy density. This means Li-S Energy’s battery cells are now the same size as current Li-ion batteries, but half the weight, the company claims.
The 20-layer cells use Li-S Energy’s patented Li-nanomesh technology and incorporate Boron Nitride Nanotubes (BNNT) into the cell structure to reduce dendrite growth and improve safety and cycle life. Test cells have demonstrated continuous performance over 1,000 charge and discharge cycles while maintaining a specific capacity nearly three times that of a typical lithium-ion cell.
The new cells were manufactured at Li-S Energy’s Phase 2 facility in Geelong, Victoria, where production of test cells is expected later this year once the company’s Phase 3 is complete. Phase 3 is a 2 MWh production line that allows for more automated production and includes potentially Australia’s largest dry room.
“We look forward to starting production of commercial samples for our partners in the coming months,” says Li-S Energy CEO Lee Finniear.
At this point, Li-S Energy’s development team is working to develop cell cycle testing and characterization results to produce an industry-standard data sheet for the new 20-layer cells.
Li-S Energy has identified electric aviation and drones as a key sector where it has a competitive advantage due to the lightness of its batteries. In 2022, the battery start-up signed an agreement with the US e-aviation company magniX, which will test the possibilities of the company’s technology in e-aviation applications.