Eco Friendly and Cost-Effective Lithium-Sulphur(Li-S) batteries
By Tanisha Jindal
While the share of electric vehicles market is growing rapidly, both in developed and emerging economies of the world and the Indian Government constantly focusing on the adoption of electric vehicles in the country as well, there is something developed for the encouragement of innovation in this aspect. A joint team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay and the Shiv Nadar University claims to have developed a new technology that will promote the manufacturing of environmentally friendly and cost-effective Lithium-Sulphur (Li-S) batteries.
According to the PTI report, it is said that these batteries will be three times more energy-efficient and cost-effective than Lithium-ion batteries which are currently used in most electric vehicles. This Lithium-Sulphur battery technology illustrates the principles of green chemistry and also integrates the use of by-products from the petroleum industry(Sulphur), agro-waste elements, and copolymers such as cardanol (which is a by-product of cashew nut processing) and eugenol (also known as clove oil) as cathodic materials.
As per Bimlesh Lochab, Associate Professor at Shiv Nadar University, the research directs the principles of green chemistry to reveal a result that deals with the prerequisites of industries and the environment, simultaneously. She told PTI:
"For example, an electric car with a 400 km range using conventional Lithium-ion batteries can now quadruple its range to 1600 km on a single charge with this technology, while being compact in size and much safer to use than traditional Lithium-ion batteries. To put this in perspective, it could mean driving from Delhi to Mumbai on a single charge and still being left with power."
Bimlesh Lochab's team partnered with Sagar Mitra, IIT Bombay's Professor in the Department of Energy Science and Engineering, to use the study for the evolution of a Li-S battery prototype. Sagar Mitra said:
"From our laptops, mobile phones and smartwatches to even electric cars depend on them. They are not efficient in terms of energy storage, they are heavy, expensive, extremely hard to recycle, and also prone to combustion."
According to him, the use of eugenol (derived from clove oil) copolymer, which is also environmentally sustainable, halogen-free, flame-retardant, and reduces the combustible propensities makes the battery remarkably safe to use. The research used cardanol for Sulfur-based structures as an unconventional application to create cathode materials in this next generation Lithium-Sulphur battery technology which has indicated enhanced capacity retention (among the highest charge capacities reported) and longer battery power in a relatively smaller battery unit. He further said, "The Sulfur for the battery is sourced from industrial waste and cardanol is sourced from bio-renewable feed-stock that is easily available, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly."
The team acknowledges that this technology could revolutionize the existing multi-billion dollar industries including Electric vehicles, consumer electronics, drones, and other products that rely on the usage of a Lithium-Ion battery.