Controlling Polysulfide Shuttling in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries

Tuesday, 26 May 2015: 16:20
Continental Room B (Hilton Chicago)


Most electric cars run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, a pricey technology that accounts for more than half of the vehicle's total cost [1]. The development of renewable, low cost, high performance energy technologies is a key scientific challenge. Active research is being pursued to develop a new technology that can replace Li-ion batteries. One promising alternative is the lithium-sulfur battery, which can theoretically store five times more energy at a much lower cost [2].

The major drawback of a lithium-sulfur battery is the polysulfide shuttling [3, 4] between anode and cathode, which induces low Coulombic efficiency, low utilization of the sulfur cathode, and severe degradation of cycle life. In this work, an electrochemical engineering model [2, 5, 8, 9] is used to understand the shuttling mechanism. In particular, the electrochemical engineering model will be reformulated for improved computational efficiency to enable real-time simulation and model based control [6, 7]. The control of polysulfide shuttle across the electrodes will be explored by obtaining optimal charging profiles. Controlling the polysulfide shuttling would ensure a longer battery life for the lithium-sulfur battery [10].


The work presented herein was funded in part by the Clean Energy Institute at the University of Washington, Seattle.


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