Scientists have developed a biologically-inspired membrane they hope will quintuple the charge capacity of electric car (EV) batteries, vastly increasing their range. A team from the University of Michigan used recycled Kevlar – the same material found in bullet-proof vests – to create a network of nanofibres similar to a cell membrane. They then used it to fix fundamental issues with a next-generation battery type, known as lithium-sulfur.
Previously, a lithium-sulfur battery’s life cycle – the number of times it can be charged and discharged – has been insufficient for commercial use, despite its capacity benefits. Lithium-sulfur batteries can hold up to five times as much charge as lithium-ion batteries, which are used in everything from smartphones and laptops to pacemakers. But the inherent instability of the cathodes of lithium-sulfur batteries makes them impractical because they degrade quickly, meaning they would need to be replaced far more often than lithium-ion batteries.
The new technology would allow the batteries to last roughly 10 years. The materials used are also far more abundant and less environmentally damaging than those in lithium-ion batteries.
Source: Today Headline