Seaweed for Long Lasting Car Batteries
Scientists at the Berkeley Laboratory have discovered that carrageenan – a derivative of red seaweed, can stabilize a lithium-sulfur battery, increasing its battery life.
If you use carrageenan as a binder, it will react with sulfur and prevent it from dissolving. The main aim behind this discovery is to produce cells that last for more than thousands of charging cycles.
Lithium-sulfur batteries are ideal and widely used for powering gadgets. They are twice more effective than lithium-ion packs, however, problem is that sulfur dissolves quickly, giving the battery a short lifespan. The use of the seaweed derivative solves this major problem.
Some of benefits of this are evident such as the phone battery staying much longer on charge. However, researchers also show its potential uses in transportation. Lithium-sulfur being lighter than lithium-ion, could be used in drones, electric aircraft and electric cars.
One of Berkeley Lab’s partners is GM, so it’s easy to imagine the company using lithium-sulfur in future EVs to make their vehicles more affordable and more efficient on charging.
The team at Berkley still needs to learn more about the reaction the derivative produces on interaction with sulfur, and whether or not it is a reversible reaction. It may take a long time for this lithium-sulfur battery be used widely in cars and in smartphones. However, its benefits seem very promising for the future of longer lasting batteries, considering its low cost which would make it more applicable in the real-world products.
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