(134e) Nanostructured Li2S-Graphene Composites As Cathode for High Energy Density Li-S Batteries | AIChE

(134e) Nanostructured Li2S-Graphene Composites As Cathode for High Energy Density Li-S Batteries


Han, K. - Presenter, Northwestern University
Shen, J., Northwestern University
Hayner, C. M., Northwestern University
Yu, Y. Y., Northwestern University
Kung, M. C., Northwestern University
Kung, H. H., Northwestern University

Lithium-ion batteries, although a promising technology for energy storage, is reaching their energy density limitation, making it difficult to fulfill the requirements of emerging applications such as electric vehicles and smart grid. Lithium-sulfur batteries are one of the most attractive systems for next generation high energy storage beyond Li-ion batteries. Conventional Li-S batteries mainly use elemental sulfur as the starting cathode material due to its high theoretical capacity of ~1675 mAh/g and high energy density of ~2500 Wh/kg based on the redox reaction S8 + 16Li ⇄ 8Li2S. Sulfur is also low cost, abundant, and of low toxicity. However, significant hurdles such as rapid capacity fade and poor rate capability have to be overcome before   practical application can be realized.  Two important underlying reasons for the poor performance of this battery are the insulating nature of sulfur and the dissolution of the intermediate product polysulfide into the electrolyte resulting in redox shuttling. Although extensive research efforts have been expanded to solve these issues, most studies are limited to the simple cell configuration of sulfur as cathode and metallic lithium as anode. For safety and ease of operation, introducing Li into the cell in the form of Li2S is more desirable than Li metal.  Moreover, Li2S, with a theoretical capacity of ~1166 mAh/g, could be paired with a lithium-metal-free anode such as Si or Sn.

Here, we report the use of a nanostructured Li2S-graphene composite as cathode material. Li2S nanoparticles (20~50nm) are imbedded in pocket-like structures in a three-dimensional graphene/reduced graphene oxide via a facile, wet chemical method followed by thermal treatment. Structural characterization by XRD and SEM provide clear evidence for the unique structure. The constructed 3-D graphene network could enable efficient use of Li2S active material by providing excellent electrical contacts, offer long-term stability against loss of polysulfide and accommodate volume changes during charge and discharge processes. The as-prepared Li2S-graphene nanocomposites exhibit high initial reversible capacity and good cycling performance.  The effect of lithium polysulfide as additive of the electrolyte is also investigated, especially with respect to its contribution to the overall charge storage capacity. The structural and electrochemical characterization results of the nanocomposites will be presented.



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