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UNT professors, graduate students create new battery with up to six times more battery life

UNT professors, graduate students create new battery with up to six times more battery life

Material science engineering graduate student Eunho Cha demonstrates how to make a lithium sulfur battery. Sara Carpenter

UNT professors, graduate students create new battery with up to six times more battery life
March 20
01:50 2018

Professors and graduate students in UNT’s Department of Engineering discovered a way to fix critical problems for lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries, researchers said. The Li-S battery is economically friendly and has a longer battery life than normal commercial lithium-ion batteries.

The battery is coated with a chemical compound which allows for lithium-ions to travel within the battery, fixing problems other researchers or companies could not configure, said Wonbong Choi, materials science and engineering professor at UNT.

Production of the battery began around three years ago with a total of seven researchers including three UNT professors, one postdoctoral researcher and three UNT doctoral students.

Mechanical and energy engineering professor Vish Prasad said the idea started at UNT, and the University of Texas at Dallas got involved later on.

The Li-S battery can be used in electric vehicles and high energy storage devices, Prasad said. Choi envisioned the Li-S battery could be used in drones.

“This kind of ground-breaking technology is needed for electrical vehicles to go longer distances, a major challenge for fast growth in EVs,” Prasad said.

The battery is not being sold yet. The technology must go through prototyping and commercialization before this battery can be available on the market, Prasad said.

Material science engineering graduate student Eunho Cha places a lithium sulfur battery on the charger in a lab at Discovery Park. Researchers at the University of North Texas College of Engineering have developed a lithium sulfur battery that out performs, outlasts and is more environmentally-friendly than lithium-ion batteries. Sara Carpenter

Regular batteries (lithium-ion batteries) have an energy density of 160 watt-hours per kilogram (Wh/kg), whereas the Li-S battery has at least three times the energy density at 400 Wh/kg. The Li-S battery can charge up to six times the amount as a commercial battery, which means the difference between having a cellular device last a day versus up to a week on a single charge, Choi said.

The lithium-sulfur battery is coated with a layer of molybdenum disulfide thinner than a piece of human hair between two lithium electrodes, which are small pieces of metal that send electric currents, Choi said.

Mechanical engineering freshman Logan Aflleje likes the idea of the Li-S battery since it could impact the cell phone industry by enabling batteries to last longer.

“This new lithium-sulfur battery could definitely be a good thing for the future, especially since it is economically friendly,” Aflleje said. “Technology is always changing because we come across so many new improvements.”

Aflleje said many people complain about the longevity of cell phones and the devices’ battery impacts how long the phone will actually last.

“Cell phone batteries are only made to last about a year, and then you will start to see drastic changes in your cell phone life,” Afleje said. “So a battery that could last longer and is good for the environment is by far a huge advancement and has the potential to change a lot of technology that we use every day.”

Featured Image: Material science engineering graduate student Eunho Cha demonstrates how to make a lithium-sulfur battery. Sara Carpenter

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Jacqueline Guerrero

Jacqueline Guerrero

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