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Local firm breaks new ground in lithium battery technology


Brisbane-based battery company Li-S Energy has revealed it is “engaging” with automotive industry manufacturers at the same time as discovering a breakthrough in the development of a lithium-metal battery.

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The company has already struck deals with Boeing to trial its battery on drones and with Janus Electric to power electric prime movers with lithium sulphur batteries.

It also said further testing of the battery showed a performance increase to 1100 charge-discharge cycles while retaining 60 per cent of its initial capacity.

Chief executive Lee Finniear said achieving 1100 cycles in single-layer pouch cell testing “offers significant potential for high energy, extended life lithium sulphur batteries to play a major role in the future of electrification and clean energy”.

The cycle life of batteries varies greatly but the lithium-ion battery has about 500 charge-discharges.

The lithium suphur battery had previously been considered too unstable to compete with lithium-ion but Li-S has adapted the battery with boron nitrate nanotubes which it claims has made its three times better the competitors.

Li-S said it had made further improvements with a nanomesh which it expects to extended cycle life.

Investors clearly liked what they saw from the company and lifted its share up 15 per cent.

“The additional major opportunity with Li-Nanomesh is the potential to extend the life of Li-metal batteries,” he said

Li-metal batteries have a higher energy density than lithium ion but have suffered from low cycle life.

“Initial tests results show that Li-nanomesh can effectively suppress dendrite formation on lithium metal anodes,” Finniear said.

“The commercial advantage for the company is time-to-market. Since Li-metal uses a conventional lithium-ion cathode, existing gigafactories could be more easily adapted, potentially enabling additional, earlier intellectual property licensing and nanomaterial supply agreements to be reached.

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