Selenium as alternative to sulfur in batteries

November 16, 2020 //By Nick Flaherty
Selenium as alternative to sulfur in batteries
Researchers at the University of Surrey and University Technology of Sydney have developed a technique to build batteries from lithium and selenium rather than sulfur.

Lithium selenium (Li-Se) battery technology is increasingly considered a real alternative to lithium ion batteries because of its high theoretical volume capacity and much higher conductivity.

The team from Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute (ATI), in collaboration with the team at University Technology of Sydney, have used a single-atom catalyst to create highly effective cathodes for Li-Se batteries.

The Surrey team used to delicately control Zeolitic Imidazolate Framework (ZIF) particles that were placed on the surface of polystyrene spheres. The core-shell of the ZIF was then converted into a hollow structured carbon material.

Through further fine-tuning, the team from the ATI successfully produced atomic cobalt electrocatalyst, nitrogen-doped hollow porous carbon, nitrogen-doped hollow porous carbon and cobalt nanoparticles. By embedding selenium in hollow structured carbon particles, carbon/selenium composites were produced.

The atomic cobalt electrocatalysts were used as cathode materials for Li-Se batteries with a higher charging rate of 311mAh/g at 50 C and cycling stability, falling to 267mAh/g after 5000 cycles with a 0.0067 percent capacity decay per cycle.

"We truly believe that our atomic cobalt-doped synthesized material can pave the way for Lithium Selenium batteries to be the go-to battery technology for future generations. While our results are incredibly encouraging, there is still some way to go to make our dream of high-capacity, sustainable battery technology a reality,” said Dr Jian Liu, one of the lead authors and Reader (Associate Professor) of Energy Materials at the ATI.

www.surrey.ac.uk

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