Nanostructured Electrodes and Ionic Liquid Electrolytes for Ultra High Energy Density Lithium Sulfur Batteries


Project Summary

Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are without question the critical component that has enabled the portable electronics revolution in the past 20 years. The limitations provided by the mass and volume of this battery and the amount of energy that can be stored within is now a bottle neck to further major breakthroughs in device design. This directly affects European industrial competitiveness, and limits progress in key areas such as the range of electric vehicles and the commercial viability of storage of electricity generated by intermittent renewable sources.[1] This arises because the specific energy of this battery technology has reached a fundamental limit imposed by the chemistry of the cell components.[2]

NEILLSBAT seeks to substantially increase the specific energy of rechargeable batteries to over twice the current state of the art through the development of lithium-sulfur batteries (LSBs) with innovative nanostructured electrode materials and ionic liquid electrolytes. LSBs have a theoretical specific energy of over 2000 Wh/kg. This translates to a practical specific energy of up to 1000 Wh/kg when binders and conductive additives are considered, which is multiples of the 250 Wh/kg achievable in advanced Li-ion.[3] However, present generation LSBs exhibit low cycle life and offer insufficient specific energy for many emerging applications. This has its direct origin in the materials utilised in the electrodes.[4] In this proposal, the NEILLSBAT consortium will develop solutions that go substantially beyond the state of the art to improve the capacity and cycle life of LSBs by designing and optimising nanostructured materials and utilising ionic liquids to overcome critical challenges in the anode, cathode and electrolyte chemistry.

Partner 1 (Coordinator): University of Limerick

Prof Kevin M Ryan, Dr Tadhg Kennedy

Personnel Dr Killian Stokes, Dr Seamus Kilian

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Partner 2: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Role in the project:

The KIT team is coordinator of WP3 and WP4. Specifically, it will be responsible for (i) the development of advanced IL-based electrolytes and (ii) their optimization and tuning for operation with nanowire anodes and MOF-S cathodes in both half and full cell configuration


Prof Stefano Passerini

Dr Alberto Varzi

Partner 3:IOLITEC

IOLITEC is responsible for designing novel ionic liquids, synthesising and purifying them as well as adapting them for the use as electrolytes


Dr Thomas Schubert

Dr Boyan Iliev