Title of the action: 

High energy lithium sulphur cells and batteries 

Acronym of the action

HELIS

Duration

The duration of the action is 48 months, start date is 1st of June 2015.

Estimated budget

The maximum grant amount is € 7,974,352.00 with 100% of reimbursement of eligible costs.

Outline

LSBs are a viable candidate for commercialisation among all post Li-ion battery technologies due to their high theoretical energy density and cost effectiveness. Despite many efforts, there are remaining issues that need to be solved and this will provide final direction of lithium sulphur batteries' technological development. Some of the technological aspects, like development of host matrices, interactions of the host matrix with polysulphides and interactions between the sulphur and electrolyte have been successfully developed within the FP7 project EUROLIS (www.eurolis.eu). Open porosity of the cathode, interactions between host matrices and polysulphides and proper solvation of polysulphides are requirements for the complete utilisation of sulphur. A possible direction to improve cycling properties is an effective separation between electrodes.

The HELIS project will be addressing the remaining issues connected with the stability of lithium anode during cycling, engineering of the complete cell and questions about lithium sulphur batteries cell implementation into commercial products (ageing, safety, recycling and battery packs). Instability of the lithium metal in most conventional electrolytes and formation of dendrites due to uneven distribution of lithium upon the deposition cause several difficulties. Safety problems connected with dendrites and low coulombic efficiency with a constant increase of inner resistance due to electrolyte degradation represent main technological challenges. From this point of view, stabilisation of the lithium metal will have an impact on safety issues. A stabilised interface layer is important from the view of engineering of the cathode composite and separator porosity since this is an important parameter for electrolyte accommodation and volume expansion adjustment. Finally the mechanism of lithium sulphur batteries ageing can determine the practical applicability of LSB in different applications.

Objectives

The action is aiming towards the development of three different series of lithium-sulphur (Li-S) cell prototypes, all of which will be tested according to specifications for automotive use. The specific objectives are as follows:

  • To double the energy density and specific power compared to current Li-ion batteries (at least 500 Wh/kg and 1000 W/kg during normal operation conditions);
  • To obtain a durability according to automotive industry specifications (at least 5 years and a 1000 cycle lifetime within the full discharge/full charge conditions);
  • To scale up and engineer materials and components developed in the EUROLIS project (FP7 project Grant Agreement No 314515);
  • To understand the ageing of Li-S cell prototypes and to postulate a mechanism which will predict Li-S cells and battery packs ageing in different climate environments;
  • To fully assess Li-S cells through several safety tests;
  • To protect European technology;
  • To bring Li-S technology to technology readiness levels (TRLs) ≥4.

 

Challenges

The Li-S battery technology in the HELIS project is based on low cost cathode material (host matrix and sulphur). The electrolyte, binder, and separator costs are estimated to be similar to those in the current Li-ion battery technology. The use of a much cheaper cathode will maintain the low cost of Li-S cells and the final cell price is estimated to be below 150 €/kWh. By achieving 500 Wh/kg energy density this will substantially improve the driving range, thus having a positive impact on EV acceptance.

 

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