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Lithium-sulfur tech could triple battery life

updated 03:40 pm EDT, Wed June 10, 2009

Lithium Sulfur Batteries

A new discovery by the University of Waterloo could extend the battery life of cellphones, notebooks and other devices by as much as three times. Lithium-sulfur follows lithium-ion's approach of storing energy in one electrode and releasing it through another but pairs the lithium with a set of nanoscale-level, porous carbon rods surrounded by sulfur to make contact between the rods. The choices of material greatly improve the lithium's energy capacity and would let it hold 84 percent of the theoretical capacity of sulfur, or between three to five more than a lithium-ion battery.

By combining lithium with the two materials, the researchers also found that batteries could be much lighter even as they store more power. A typical lithium-ion cell has 500 watt-hours per kilogram (227 per pound), but lithium-sulfur could generate 1,200 watt-hours in the same mass (545 per pound).

The technology is still in mid-development and has a number of obstacles before it can be refined into a finished product, such as the rate at which capacity decreases as well protecting against sparks and the question of a final price. None of those at the Canadian university would predict when lithium-sulfur could reach stores. [via GizMag]




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Wingsy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +6

    Same old announcement

    I can't begin to count the number of times I've heard of some revolutionary new battery technology that will give us these fantastic long-life batteries, and here we are today with batteries that are just evolutionary improvements on the original Ni-Cad. When will we have a Really Good battery?

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    Fuel cell batteries...

    ...are also rumoured on the horizon - fill 'er up!
    ;-)

  1. Former Rube

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Uh oh!

    What irony! A new, higher density battery technology is developed, but it uses CARBON? How will the global change group who think carbon is a poison deal with this? Oh the humanity.

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