New composite materials based on selenium (Se) sulfides that act as the positive electrode in a rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery could boost the range of electric vehicles by up to five times, according to groundbreaking research carried out at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. The studies of the materials demonstrated that they have the potential to pack five times the energy density of conventional batteries
Carbon-selenium sulfide composites are an alternative material to the conventional lithium transition metal oxide positive electrode material in standard batteries. These composites are anticipated to have an energy density five times higher than conventional batteries. This could mean up to five times greater range between charging stations.
The researchers point out that in a typical lithium battery, electrical capacity is between 120- and 160-milliamp-hours (mAh) per gram of material. The use of the novel composite materials can boost that capacity to around 678-mAh per gram. While such a boost is theoretically very attractive, understanding the nature of the electrochemical changes taking place when these materials are used (instead of conventional lithium-metal oxide electrodes) is vital to ensure they will be viable in future batteries.