ARKANSAS, Oct 7 (Future Headlines)- Researchers at Shantou University and the Beijing Institute of Technology have made significant progress in improving lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries by developing a novel nickel-based foam. Li-S batteries have garnered attention as a promising energy storage solution due to their potential for high energy density and large theoretical capacity. However, they face several challenges, including the shuttle effect, volume expansion, and poor electronic conductivity of sulfur, which limit their commercial viability.

The shuttle effect is a critical issue in Li-S batteries. During charge-discharge cycles, lithium polysulfides (LiPSs) are formed and can diffuse through the battery’s porous separator to the negative electrode, where they react with lithium metal. This reaction results in the formation of non-dissolvable Li compounds, leading to a detrimental shuttle effect. This phenomenon ultimately results in a decreased discharge capacity and cycling performance, hindering the widespread adoption of Li-S batteries.

To address these challenges, the research team designed a novel approach involving the development of a 3D HsGDY (hydrogen-substituted graphdiyne) framework on a nickel foam substrate. This framework is created through a Glaser cross-coupling reaction and is designed to anchor MoS2/Ni3S2, thereby enhancing the conductivity of the sulfur-hosting material.

According to Fushen Lu, the senior author of the study, this new nickel-based foam electrode exhibits high performance in Li-S batteries, with a large specific capacity and long-term stability even at high current densities. The incorporation of 3D HsGDY into the cathode enhances the absorption and conversion of lithium polysulfides in the electrolyte, providing a promising avenue for achieving high-energy-density Li-S batteries.

Li-S batteries represent a potential breakthrough in energy storage technology due to their significantly higher energy density compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries. However, they face several technical challenges that must be overcome for practical applications. While lithium-ion batteries have been widely commercialized and have seen marginal improvements in energy density, Li-S batteries are still in the early stages of research and development, with significant work required to realize their practical use.

This research represents a significant step forward in addressing key challenges in Li-S battery technology. By leveraging the unique properties of 3D HsGDY and incorporating it into the cathode design, researchers have made substantial progress in improving the performance and viability of Li-S batteries. This development holds promise for the future of high-energy-density energy storage solutions, which are crucial for meeting the growing demand for sustainable and efficient energy storage systems.

Reporting by Alireza Sabet; Editing by Sarah White