Novel cathode design significantly improves performance of next-generation battery


Research News


A team led by Cheong Ying Chan Professor of Engineering and Environment Prof. ZHAO Tianshou, Chair Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Director of HKUST Energy Institute, has proposed a novel cathode design concept for lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery that substantially improves the performance of this kind of promising next-generation battery.

Li-S batteries are regarded as attractive alternatives to lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries that are commonly used in smartphones, electric vehicles, and drones. They are known for their high energy density while their major component, sulfur, is abundant, light, cheap, and environmentally benign.

Li-S batteries can potentially offer an energy density of over 500 Wh/kg, significantly better than Li-ion batteries that reach their limit at 300 Wh/kg. The higher energy density means that the approximate 400km driving range of an electric vehicle powered by Li-ion batteries can be substantially extended to 600-800km if powered by Li-S batteries.

While exciting results on Li-S batteries have been achieved by researchers worldwide, there is still a big gap between lab research and commercialization of the technology on an industrial scale. One key issue is the polysulfide shuttle effect of Li-S batteries that causes progressive leakage of active material from the cathode and lithium corrosion, resulting in a short life cycle for the battery. Other challenges include reducing the amount of electrolyte in the battery while maintaining stable battery performance.

To address these issues, Prof. Zhao’s team collaborated with international researchers to propose a cathode design concept that could achieve good Li-S battery performance.

The highly oriented macroporous host can uniformly accommodate the sulfur while abundant active sites are embedded inside the host to tightly absorb the polysulfide, eliminating the shuttle effect and lithium metal corrosion. By bringing up a design principle for sulfur cathode in Li-S batteries, the joint team increased the batteries’ energy density and made a big step towards the industrialization of the batteries.

“We are still in the middle of basic research in this field,” Prof. Zhao said. “However, our novel electrode design concept and the associated breakthrough in performance represent a big step towards the practical use of a next-generation battery that is even more powerful and longer-lasting than today’s lithium-ion batteries.”


Their research work was recently published in Nature Nanotechnology under the title “A high-energy and long-cycling lithium-sulfur pouch cell via a macroporous catalytic cathode with double-end binding sites”.

Team members from HKUST include Prof. Zhao and his current PhD students ZHAO Chen, ZHANG Leicheng, and former PhD student REN Yuxun (2019 graduate). Other collaborators include researchers from Argonne National Laboratory and Stanford University in the US, Xiamen University in Mainland China, and Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University in Saudi Arabia.

From EurekAlert!

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December 11, 2020 10:17 pm

Cool, 100,000 times that improvement and we might have a useful Grid support. Might need a couple of more orders of magnitude improvement.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Gordon
December 12, 2020 10:03 am

Its not there. Battery output is directly and linearly determined by battery chemistry. You will notice that Lithium is in the upper left hand corner of the periodic table. There is no where to go from there. Nor is there much room to the right and up from sulfur. There is no order of magnitude improvement available.

Reply to  Gordon
December 12, 2020 10:10 am

All the fixes for the shortcomings of so-called renewable energy systems start to look like some complicated “Rube Goldberg” scheme, that any sensible person would see would hurt the environment a lot more than vehicle exhaust from a modern efficient car.

December 11, 2020 10:24 pm

They have “proposed a novel cathode design concept” … be still my beating heart.

Get back to us when it’s more than a “proposal”.


Mark Luhman
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 12, 2020 12:10 am

Nary a word about charging times. 600 to 800 kilometer is not a decent days drive! That the range of my present ICE vehicle and I can refill that in five minutes.

Reply to  Mark Luhman
December 12, 2020 1:07 am

Charge times of as little as 5 minutes have been demonstrated in the lab for Li Ion. Of course battery lifetime and cooling are issues.

I think a 600 mile range and one hour recharge or a 400 mile range and fast recharge would both tip the scales into ‘acceptable’ performance. The cost however is another matter…

…as is the availability of enough electrical energy

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Leo Smith
December 12, 2020 4:44 am

If you average 60mph on an interstate then 600mi will take you 10 hours. Then if it takes an hour to recharge that represents 10% of your total travel time. That’s about the distance from Kansas City to Denver or Kansas City to Dallas. I hardly consider that to be acceptable, you would have to recharge for an hour before driving in the city to find your destination or a motel/hotel.

400 miles and a fast recharge? Just what does that do to your battery?

Lee Scott
Reply to  Tim Gorman
December 12, 2020 5:20 am

How often do people take 10 hour drives? Maybe once or twice a year for vacations or visiting the relatives over the holidays. For normal, everyday driving this would be very acceptable performance.

For long trips, tow a small trailer with a gas or diesel generator running in it, and you can recharge the car as you drive. Towable Campers could be set up to do it automatically.

Reply to  Tim Gorman
December 12, 2020 5:34 am

Replying to Lee Scott: why not then just drive a gasoline or diesel vehicle?

Ian W
Reply to  Tim Gorman
December 12, 2020 6:14 am

@ Lee Scott December 12, 2020 at 5:20 am

If you are a townie that is a fair comment. However, in the last few years there have been several occasions when South Florida has been required to evacuate to Georgia with hurricanes forecast to run South to North up Florida. That kind of distance is easily driveable in one hop by an ICE car especially carrying spare fuel. Not so much EVs especially when there is nowhere to charge as the power is out with stormy rain bands ahead of the storm. Tesla had to remotely ‘allow’ their cars to be discharged to a lower level than normal to provide some extra range. Imagine the number of bricked cars on the interstates/turnpikes with a hurricane bearing down on them – and you can’t drive a gallon of charge to them to get them to safety.
You can always phone in and work from home if there is a problem with your EV and it is just a commute but sometimes you MUST drive further and NOW. EV’s cannot do that.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Tim Gorman
December 12, 2020 7:23 am

Imagine trying to grow crops with battery-powered farm equipment instead of diesel.


Tim Gorman
Reply to  Tim Gorman
December 12, 2020 8:17 am


How often? What difference does that make? If you do it just once a year then you still need a vehicle that is useful for doing so! And pulling a trailer with a generator on it? What does that do to the battery and the EV maximum distance? Why not just buy a hybrid instead of an EV?

Most people can’t afford two cars – one for short distance, around town driving and a different car for long trips. Since the long trip car is just as useful for short trips guess which one wins out when a buying decision must be made?

Something for EV enthusiasts to remember – charging stations won’t just be required at truck stops on major highways. Many long trips wind up at a hotel or motel. Just how many charging stations will such provide? It would be a major inconvenience to have to leave the hotel/motel to go somewhere you could recharge, especially if it takes an hour to do so!

If EV’s were such a godsend to the average person their market penetration would be far, far higher than it is today.

Reply to  Leo Smith
December 12, 2020 6:18 am

I prefer the “drive for a year, no recharge” of the E-Cat SKL, due next year, being tested (in R&D) right now:

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Enginer01
December 12, 2020 10:07 am

Yes, but the water carburetor in my car is a better deal that. /s

Reply to  Enginer01
December 12, 2020 6:00 pm

How long has this scam lasted? Always another demonstration or new plant, just around the corner.

Reply to  Scissor
December 13, 2020 11:39 am

“E-cat coming out next year” – post must have been written by Rossi’s mother, wants to make sure her son can hussle enough suckers’ investment money to survive over the holidays. Rossi is copying the “Fusion Research Investment Model”, with the Glowing Holy Grail always just around the corner, as long as the research funds keep coming.

Gerry, England
Reply to  Leo Smith
December 13, 2020 4:50 am

And getting enough lithium for all these batteries. Until batteries can use cheap and readily available materials – a bit like lead and maybe acid – there will never be enough batteries at an affordable price.

Randy Stubbings
Reply to  Mark Luhman
December 13, 2020 9:21 am

Also, 600 to 800 km under ideal conditions?

I live on the east side of the Rocky Mountains and my son lives 600 km away on the west side. In between is Rogers Pass and a stretch between Golden, BC, and Revelstoke, BC of 150 km with no services. I can imagine trying to make that trip at -30 C and then having to park on the highway for four or five hours while crews clear away an avalanche. My diesel truck would keep me warm the whole time; an electric vehicle, not so much.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 12, 2020 9:47 am

They already came up with a Novel Corona virus design !

The Dark Lord
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 12, 2020 1:00 pm

and just like fusion power it will be just 10 years from commercial use for the next 30 years …

Reply to  The Dark Lord
December 13, 2020 11:54 am

Hey, that’s a big improvement! When I was growing up, fusion was just 20 yrs away, now it’s down to 10 and it only took 40 years! What amazing progress! In another 40, and after billions in juicy grants, they’ll be just 5 years away. And after another 40 they’ll have managed a stable reaction. And then they’ll say it’ll be another 10 years before they can commercialize it, because you obviously can make a viable plant that uses $30,000/g tritium (that’s highly radioactive and dangerous) and produces mostly high energy neutrons that are hard to convert to heat and irradiate the whole plant quickly. But don’t worry suckers, er, government grant managers, we are working on the next, much better fusion device that will solve all the problems with the first iteration, that has already cost a trillion dollars. No problem at all, guaranteed. We just need you to be bold and visionary, and sign off on our grant request, and so we can fund the trip to the moon to get the helium3. No problem at all. Just another 10 years and everything will fall into place.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 12, 2020 3:34 pm

Until you mentioned the “proposal” I had assumed there was a prototype battery that performed well in a laboratory. Why would this website have an article about a proposal? Except they just did.

We need more than a proposal and a prototype — we need a prototype battery that is affordable, with good durability, and better than current products. That would be an article worth reading.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 13, 2020 3:26 pm


Until you mentioned the “proposal” I had assumed there was a prototype battery that performed well in a laboratory. Why would this website have an article about a proposal? Except they just did.

Because it is almost certain that someone will mention this article as proof EV battery limitations will be eliminated soon, so we should mandate even faster adoption. Normally I wouldn’t care what such people think, but now those people will control the US executive branch come Jan 20.

December 11, 2020 10:49 pm

Unit cost? Service life? Volume density? Lifecycle cost? Social cost of materials? Real “carbon footprint?”
Light-weight, high density storage is necessary for transportation, but less so for real grid-based storage. The solution for both engineering problems need not be the same. Heavy, long-lived, energy dense, rebuildable and recyclable batteries using existing technology could be adequate for grid use (or better, for destributed “cellular” storage without expansion of a grid) rather than expensive, maybe someday solutions requiring esoteric materials and excessive maintenance.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  d
December 12, 2020 4:13 am

For renewables grids you need a low price per TWh. The US would probably need over 300TWh of storage. Present consumption is of the order of 4,200TWh per year. It ceases to be about replacing grid inertia and handling intra day variations in supply, and becomes about dealing with major cold weather incidents that affect much of the nation for much longer periods, and about handling seasonal variations.

Thomas Gasloli
Reply to  d
December 12, 2020 1:52 pm

Oh, it only has to be long-lived, energy dense, rebuildable, & recyclable–well, if that is all, it should be easy. (sarc)

December 11, 2020 10:51 pm

Great if you’re driving around Hong Kong, which has a maximum distance of 40 miles.

By the way, list the driving distances in miles, not kilometers, so people aren’t overly impressed.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  RockyRoad
December 11, 2020 11:21 pm

By the way 94.7% of countries use the metric system.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Izaak Walton
December 12, 2020 12:06 am

By the way that was to shaft America business. That gratitude after we bailed you but out of big time trouble. Europe did such a wonderful job having a major war every twenty years until we parked out soldiers there after WWII. If it was not for US half the world would be speaking Japaneses and the other half German or Russian and by now both would have bombed all to oblivion. The metric system really works well in land measurement in countries that were first set up in a mile grid system. Temperature measurement is mess means nothing in human comfort. 40 C is were I spent most of my summer somehow 15 C is where I spend most of the winter. Somehow the coat you have to wear is a long ways from the coat you have to wear a 15 F. Funny they still drink ale in England by the pint.

Climate believer
Reply to  Mark Luhman
December 12, 2020 1:23 am

The metric system dates from the end of the French revolution, the Brits have never been that gung ho about it, (road sign distances are still in yards and miles).

Keep your bigoted views about the war to yourself. YOU didn’t bail anybody out of anything.

Bill Powers
Reply to  Climate believer
December 12, 2020 7:30 am

I am curious what “The metric system dates from the end of the French revolution” has to do with anything?

Reply to  Climate believer
December 12, 2020 12:56 pm

Nice. At WUWT when someone makes a PERSONAL attack it is usually because they have no rational argument. Europe and SE Asia were doing so well against the Axis powers before the US entered the WWII. No bail out there.

All the crying and gnashing of teeth from the European countries when TRUMP! asked for them to meet their agreed upon military expenditures. They never did, and now with Biden they will immediately reduce their military expenditures regardless of their obligations.

BTY: Years ago I was bored at my Father in Laws place so I pulled an annual US almanac off the shelf. I just happened to hit a table of US national DEBT by year. I could clearly see the ONLY reason the US has a debt is from the expense of WWII, with compounded interest to the present day. In general the only reason the US runs an annual deficit is the inability to pay the interest on the compounded debt incurred in WWII.

So, something for nothing Climate Believer, who didn’t bail anybody out? And who hasn’t been repaid for the bailout? The Bigot is he who hates a group as you do. You know how if you lend someone something and they do not repay you and then they start to resent you because THEY owe YOU? Your jealousy and bigotry is showing.

Ultimately I think the US has made a 75 year mistake by acting as the world’s policeman. It has continued to cost the American populace hugely and your response shows the old adage, “no good deed goes unpunished” holds true.

Reply to  Mark Luhman
December 12, 2020 1:29 am

Why is your D Day armour at the bottom of the English Channel?

Reply to  fretslider
December 12, 2020 12:58 pm

What does that mean? Just wondering if you were trying to make some point.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Mark Luhman
December 12, 2020 1:45 am

WE also drink it by the yard, but only on special occasions….:)

Reply to  Mark Luhman
December 12, 2020 2:29 am

“By the way that was to shaft America business”
What a stupid statement you make; stop being so paranoid !

The metric system was envisaged in 1585 , was first described in 1668; way before America had any business ! American business didn’t start until independence 1776, before that they were British, French & Dutch colonial businesses.
Thomas Jefferson proposed the adoption of a decimal system in 1790.

“That gratitude after we bailed you but out of big time trouble”
No, the USA sat on the sidelines for 2yrs based on a long-term ‘isolationist’ tradition [ while American business made huge profits supplying arms & equipment; Britain made the final £55million payment in 2006 ([so who got shafted ?? ) ] .
If USA had entered the war earlier it’s lightly Japan wouldn’t have had a go at Pearl Harbor
Nb: World War part 1 (1914-1918) & part 2 (1939-1945) weren’t won on the battlefield, but in the factory’s.

BTW: American business has a long history of shafting anyone & everyone including each other, but this is not the time or place for long lists or history lessons.

Reply to  saveenergy
December 12, 2020 4:09 am

Whether the US took time to enter WW2 is irrelevant (though you can’t have it both ways) because they did and whether you like it or not they won the war with factory production and armed forces on the battlefield.

The American tradition isn’t isolationist, it’s one of non interference; the reluctance to engage was and remains a major trait.

Britain made the final payment under the Marshall Plan late. There was no question of us being shafted.

Reply to  saveenergy
December 12, 2020 6:52 am

Fascinating how people consider being required to pay your bills, as being shafted.
I guess the Brits have gotten used to having government force other people to pay their bills.

Reply to  saveenergy
December 12, 2020 11:28 am

Not metric, but decimal: back in the sixties I was on a surveying crew. They used feet – but they didn’t use inches. They measured in tenths of a foot. Many of the advantages of metric, without having to change the road signs.

I can handle metric (CGS or MKS) but I live with miles and inches. And even there, British and American units don’t have the same pints or gallons, as I discovered when I was learning to brew. When you drink your pint in Britain, you get about 20% more beer. Same percentage increase if you drink gallons, but it’d take longer to measure that.

The advantages of Metric are plain, but don’t overlook the advantages of having the largest established industrial base in the world, nor the desire of the populace to use familiar units.

Climate believer
Reply to  saveenergy
December 13, 2020 3:59 am

Replying to Bill Powers and Drake here as this system doesn’t allow for direct replies to them for some reason.

Mr Walton pointed out that most of the world uses the metric system.

Mr Luhman said in reply:
“By the way that was to shaft America business. That gratitude after we bailed you but out of big time trouble.”

The implication is that the metric system was somehow brought about to deceive American business. I pointed out that the system had been adopted in Europe way before any world wars, so his accusation is ridiculous.

It’s rather tedious to explain, and risks being incredibly boring, but to Mr Drakes point of personal insult. I call a spade a spade, especially when it comes to some slack jawed yank spouting inanities about the war, as if drunk at a bar. I thought my insult was rather reserved.
He (Luhman) didn’t save anyone’s butt, American soldiers sacrificed their lives, along with many other nationalities, for a liberating cause that has been remembered every year since. The gratitude in my own country, France, has always been genuine and anyone who says otherwise is talking from ignorance. American flags have flown side by side with French flags every year for the last 76 years.

His use of “we” in relation to those soldiers unselfish actions for his own glorification and the glorification of the US is bigoted and shows his uneducated view of that war. That is what pushed my button.
I am well aware of Americas role in WW2 and the military weight that was unleashed, but I personally couldn’t give a dam about the financial debt, that was never my point. Have you ever seen pictures of Caen, St Lo, Falaise after the bombardments? nobody got off the hook in this one.

You misunderstand me greatly if you think I’m some jealous anti American Europeist. Just to put a bit of perspective on my, admittedly probable knee jerk reaction, I live in Normandy, about a 2 hour drive or so from the D-day beaches. I know them, and their history like the back of my hand. The American cemetery near Colleville sur mer, the British cemetery in Bayeux, the German one in La Cambe, I have visited all of them on many occasions. I have participated in many of the anniversaries over the last 15 or so years, talked to many veterans of those times, and I will hopefully be there again for the 77th next year.

As to Trump and European military expenditure, don’t conflate me with European political decisions, the idiots running things on my side of the pond are not representative of my views at all. Their weak standing has rightly been pointed out by the President.

This is all very off topic, but this is what I’m talking about:

Reply to  Mark Luhman
December 12, 2020 9:24 am

You are absolutely right about almost everything you say. However, let’s remember two things. Firstly it was Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor that forced America into war against the Japanese. And it was the Germans who declared war on the USA, not the other way round. The USA is no different than any other country. It doesn’t do things out of altruism; it does them out of self-interest. It ‘parked’ its troops in Europe because it saw that a Communist takeover of Europe was not in its own interest. That’s not a criticism; it’s just a recognition of reality. Incidentally, such was the US’s opposition to Soviet Communism that it went soft on Nazi war criminals. That is a criticism. I give you Joachim Peiper as one example. He deserved to die for his role in the murder of over 80 American soldiers but all he got was 12 years in prison.
BTW, in case you think otherwise, temperature in the UK is most commonly expressed in Centigrade nowadays.

Reply to  Alba
December 13, 2020 9:34 am

Please supply reference to Germany declaring war on America. They did complain loudly about America shipping weapons to Stalin and Churchill, but it was American Jewish (Bolsheviks) who declared war on Germany in 1934, openly reported in the New York Times of the day.
That said, kudos to the asshole with his war stories, you successfully hijacked an entire web page with your irrelevant nonsense. How much does this job pay, I also want in…

Reply to  paranoid goy
December 13, 2020 12:57 pm

More stupidity – “but it was American Jewish (Bolsheviks) who declared war on Germany in 1934” – random communists can’t “declare war” on any one. They aren’t a national government. If you think otherwise, please quote how Hitler was upset and dismayed or frightened by this declaration of war and what Germany’s response was. I’m sure they would have brought it up with the League of Nations if it was so significant. I’m sorry, but your reply was just as daft as the original “drunken slack-jawed yank’s” post, but you were right in saying his post against the metric system hijacked the thread. Cranky butt-hole shouldn’t be demanding that posters use his favourite units, no more than I can command American posters to spell properly ( like favorite, and catsup -yuck!). You can’t claim to be leaders of the Free World without allowing freedom.

Reply to  RockyRoad
December 12, 2020 8:49 am

“By the way, list the driving distances in miles, not kilometers, so people aren’t overly impressed.”

I am confident that the overwhelming majority of WUWT readers are quite capable of converting between km and miles. A lot of us prefer metric even folks who live in the US.

Reply to  RockyRoad
December 12, 2020 7:58 pm

5 km = 3.1 mile; 8 km = 5 mile and 10 km = 6.2 mile. Scale up from there.

December 11, 2020 10:52 pm

Geez I wish some of those “awesome & amazing” dot com startups I tossed $$$s into back in the ’90s had such an impressive academic team behind their prospectuses (prospecti?)

If they did, I would have lost twice as much dough 🙁

Erik Magnuson
December 11, 2020 10:55 pm

I’d like to know if this technology can be adapted for a sodium-sulfur battery. It wouldn’t have the specific energy (kw-hr/kg) that the lithium sulfur battery would, but that would not matter for stationary batteries as sodium is MUCH cheaper than lithium.

There have been some demonstrations of a high temperature Na-S battery for utility energy storage, but those appear to have put aside in favor of mass produced Li-ion technology.

Reply to  Erik Magnuson
December 12, 2020 6:54 am

How much energy is required to keep that battery at “high temperature”?

Rich Davis
Reply to  MarkW
December 12, 2020 8:56 am

None, but once the explosion is over, it will cool rapidly.

December 11, 2020 11:22 pm

I would go completely off grid tomorrow if I can get a battery that costs USD100/kWh, a cycle life to 50% DoD of 5,000 cycles and a guaranteed shelf life of 20 years. Looking forward to Li-S developments.

Not much good for grid support but great for domestic use in locations with good sunshine.

Reply to  RickWill
December 12, 2020 9:40 am

Why would you want to go off grid?
On grid i don’t have to baby sit my power source, just flip a switch and there is light.
But having said that I do have a standby generator but still less complicated than having solar panels, inverters, solenoids and the required upkeep.

Reply to  RickWill
December 12, 2020 9:56 am

Not to be a troll, but could you give a quick rundown of all the costs and how long your off-grid system would last vs your local cost of electricity and it’s reliability. Seems like one would have to be in a place with ridiculous utility bills and unreliable service to consider going offgrid with the current level of wind and solar solutions.

John Dorman
December 11, 2020 11:55 pm

Rather depends on what the word “significantly” means. Do you really imagine that your husband can lay claim to be clean-shaven because he took the Remington to his whiskers an hour ago?

Vincent Causey
December 12, 2020 12:13 am

I get it. China persuades the West to destroy their economy with expensive unreliable wind and solar, then corners the market in batteries. Talk about selling you the rope to hang yourself.

Reply to  Vincent Causey
December 12, 2020 6:55 am

China used to charge the families, the cost of the ammunition was used to shoot prisoners.

December 12, 2020 12:28 am

This is just a research.
VW builds a factory already to produce new batteries based on the QuantmuScape technology
We will see

December 12, 2020 12:51 am

Whenever I hear about another great new green idea, I see images of 3rd world children struggling to carry heavy bags of rocks on thier backs.

Reply to  Klem
December 12, 2020 4:11 am

On target Klem.
In the graphic above their ‘concept’ relies upon a “Single Atom Co-N-S Catalyst”.

Cobalt (Co), nickel (Ni) and sulfur (S); and those “single atoms” add up rapidly in full scale structures.

Oh so common and commercially mechanized mined cobalt (Co) which is the next heavier element after iron (Fe). (snark!)
So. Yes, their conceptual design relies upon current child labor mining methods.

One has to question their “single atom” claims. Using their concept, water H₂O is a single Oxygen atom design.

Flight Level
December 12, 2020 1:32 am

Short battery life ? No prob, sell more batteries. That’s how green business works.

Rod Evans
December 12, 2020 2:14 am

I applaud anything that improves the use ability of electricity. Better more energy dense batteries are much needed. If someone can halve the weight of my batteries then that is good news.
It is worth remembering electricity is not an energy source as such, it is simply an energy transfer system and its very expensive to develop. Batteries are just another energy transfer system without the restricting cables we have to use to carry the primary energy transfer.
The original energy that made the electricity is downgraded/loses anywhere from 20% to 50% of its original value. Filling up batteries downgrades the original energy deployed even more. Batteries preceded the internal combustion engine by decades. Despite that age of development advantage, there is still no battery out there that comes close to the range and energy density/kg of a gallon of petrol. That is after 150 years of available time to develop it since the ICE was introduced.
Maybe it is time the battery teams stepped up to the challenge, and took on the humble gallon of petrol?
I wish them luck.

December 12, 2020 2:18 am

I am waiting for a plutonium battery that needs charging every 500 years or so, depending on usage.

Reply to  James
December 12, 2020 6:58 am

NASA has been using those on it’s deep space probes for years. Though the life expectancy has been a bit shy of 500 years.

Peta of Newark
December 12, 2020 2:48 am

“sulfur, is abundant, light, cheap, and environmentally benign.”

a) Is it *really* all that abundant?
I so, why is it now a *required* fertiliser for almost all UK farms?
I would assert that ‘escaped sulphur’, coming from fossil fuel burning before the age of scrubbers, catalysers and Lo-Sulphur fuel was/is a *very* significant cause of Global Greening

b) Cheap?
Its all relative. Certainly compared with Platinum, as required for the upcoming Hydrogen Economy (powering vehicles at least) it is less expensive and more abundant but…..

c) Benign?
Oh yeah. What do you get if it catches fire, exactly as per what Lithium batteries are want to do.

If these clowns aren’t careful, they’re going to reinvent Black Powder gunpowder.
As favoured by one Guido Fawkes, how long ago and those crafty Chinese 1,000’s of years ago.

The little devil in me sees these muppets actually succeeding where Fawkes failed
Good luck to them

(Was that bad of me, will I get cancelled now?)

Rich Davis
Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 12, 2020 9:25 am

I don’t want to do this, but somebody must…it’s “wont to do”. Auto-correction fault no doubt.

Erik Magnuson
Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 12, 2020 11:58 am

Sulfur is a byproduct of sweetening sour natural gas. For example, there huge blocks of sulfur near the gas fields in northern Alberta that are sitting there because it would cost more to haul it to market than it is worth.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Erik Magnuson
December 12, 2020 3:35 pm

Sweetening plants, yes

Also every oilsands upgrader has a vast pile located beside it

Simon Aked
December 12, 2020 3:22 am

“while their major component, sulfur, is abundant, light, cheap, and environmentally benign”. So sulphur is environmentally benign bur carbon isn’t?

I’m going to need that one explained to me.

Especially, in the light of – “One key issue is the polysulfide shuttle effect of Li-S batteries that causes progressive leakage of active material from the cathode and lithium corrosion.”

Bruce Cobb
December 12, 2020 4:09 am

“A high-energy and long-cycling lithium-sulfur pouch cell via a…” Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

December 12, 2020 4:36 am

…substantially improves the performance of this kind of promising next-generation battery.

Yeah, from 0.01% to 0.05%. That’s FIVE times better! (and still f…ing useless).

Robert Longstreet
December 12, 2020 5:34 am

I just wonder where all of the lithium required to meet the goal of even 50% renewable energy is going to come from.

Bro. Steve
December 12, 2020 5:36 am

Flooding from Hurricane Florence took down our power grid for eight days. How does my electric car keep going if I can’t charge it up? The local convenience store had a small electric generator that could run gasoline pumps and an ice machine, so we had fuel and some refrigeration during that time, which is life-or-death for diabetics keeping their insulin chilled. (Good old capitalism, keeping people alive for $2 a bag.)

Charging up one electric car at the advertised rates (~80 KWH in 10 minutes) requires a 500,000-watt (670 horsepower) generator and — get this — burns fossil fuel. Charging up multiple cars will extend the power demand way, way into the thousands of horsepower. The backup generator would look like a railroad locomotive parked behind the store with a fuel tank the size of an Olympic swimming pool.

Now imagine charging up those long lines of cars where people are evacuating ahead of a hurricane. Boys and girls, this just ain’t gonna work out.

Justin Burch
December 12, 2020 5:43 am

How will it work travelling east at -40C in Manitoba with the car heater running and a stiff wind coming out of the west?

Len Werner
Reply to  Justin Burch
December 12, 2020 6:31 am

You lie; there is never a wind coming out of the west when you’re travelling east in Manitoba. No matter what direction you go and when you go it on the prairies, you’re always driving into a quartering headwind.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Len Werner
December 12, 2020 7:43 am

In the mid-1970’s, I worked at a uranium ore processing plant in the Wind River Basin of central Wyoming. The wind stopped blowing one day and all the trees fell over.

Reply to  Beta Blocker
December 12, 2020 2:35 pm

Now that there is funny…I don’t care who you are.

Len Werner
Reply to  Oatley
December 12, 2020 4:12 pm

You bet; I bow to that one!

Reply to  Justin Burch
December 12, 2020 10:13 am

You could use a sail to power your journey east with all that wind coming out of the west.

December 12, 2020 7:01 am

What are the charging and discharging efficiencies of this battery?

Phil Salmon
December 12, 2020 9:18 am

Only one suitable reaction to such almost weekly claims of a technical fix to all the shortcomings of batteries:

Hahahahahahahahahaha 😂😂😂😂😂

December 12, 2020 10:55 am

There have been some spectacular Li auto fires. What happens when the batteries are full of sulfur?

Rud Istvan
December 12, 2020 11:14 am

Lithium sulfur has been worked on in the lab for decades. As of the last technical survey article in 2019, nobody had solved either of the two big issues: low efficiency and low cycle life. The first means the things heat up. The second (perhaps in part because of the first) means they are not viable technically. The fundamental problem is that the sulfur cathode doesn’t remain chemically stable.

A proposal without even a lab proof of principal is VERY weak tea, just looking for funding. Especially since nobody knows how to engineer such a discrete catalyst at the atomic level as pictured. That isn’t nanotechnology, its magic. Even now defunct A123 Systems never made such a claim about their ‘nanotechnology enabled’ LiIon.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 12, 2020 11:55 am

How much you want to bet that starting next week, our regular trolls will be treating this Li-S battery as if factory level production will be starting next week.

December 12, 2020 2:41 pm

Love this site. Commenters from all over the globe with local knowledge, (mostly) educated and informed people from their field of training and years if experience. They don’t suffer fools. Bravo to you all!!!!!!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Oatley
December 13, 2020 7:56 am

“educated and informed people from their field of training and years if experience.”

The thing I like about WUWT is you will find experts on every subject here.

Noone is an expert in every subject. So whenever I see a climate alarmist making what appears to be a good case in a subject I’m not familiar with, I come to WUWT and invariably the subject will come up and the experts will weigh in, and then I know all I need to know about that particular topic. The experts usually spot the flaw in the alarmist’s claim. In fact, I can’t recall a time when the experts at WUWT haven’t spotted the flaw in an alarmists argument.

It’s beatiful ! 🙂

Pat from kerbob
December 12, 2020 3:23 pm

I love stories of magic batteries

Now I can sleep tonight know the problem has been solved

I read a thing a while back, cannot find a link, astronomical footprint of a batter based on current technology to power the puny Alberta 10GW grid for 1min
Square km of battery

Surely that won’t cost much

Pat from kerbob
December 12, 2020 3:31 pm

Although if they can fix the many problems with them there is no shortage of sulphur
All the oilsands Upgraders have massive piles of sulphur that needs to find another use

Like a dozen Costco stores lined up and stacked

Only so much goes to fertilizer

Russ R.
December 12, 2020 5:59 pm

Wait a minute…Where do they insert the pixie dust?
This is research based on reasonable speculation, but speculation none the less. Without a working prototype it is propaganda designed to gin up investment. And we all know how that goes.
I suspect we will get many more of these “incredible breakthrough” possibilities as the green gang starts carpet bombing us with propaganda about the utopian future that awaits us if we will just obey!

Reply to  Russ R.
December 12, 2020 9:29 pm

“Where do they insert the pixie dust?”

Well first you need to bend over …

December 13, 2020 2:23 am

HONG KONG UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. Handy refugees for our decimated economy.

December 13, 2020 7:41 am

“HONG KONG UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY” Comes from CCP? Its a load of crap. New technology has to be invented then stolen by China, nothing original comes from China.

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