In order to improve battery life for gadgets, Sony is turning to lithium-sulphur batteries. The company plans to introduce the lithium-sulfur battery by 2020 that could boost performance capabilities by 40 per cent.
Lithium-ion technology, which is now the cornerstone of our entire battery industry, was introduced by Sony in 1991. Now, the company wants to revolutionise the industry again by introducing Lithium-sulphur batteries which are claimed to boost battery capability from 700Wh/L (lithium-ion) to 1000Wh/L (lithium-sulfur).
The reason lithium-ion batteries are able to provide more power is because different devices and applications require very different chemistries and formulations. Lithium-ion devices designed to deliver high amounts of power tend to have low energy density, while batteries that deliver a small amount of power can pack far more energy per unit volume.
It’s impossible to evaluate Sony’s 700Wh/L and 1,000Wh/L target without knowing more about the respective devices those chemistries are meant to power. The general target of a 40 per cent improvement by 2020, however, could turn the corner on widespread battery adoption.
Sony is said to be working on two different types of battery chemistry, one lithium-sulfur, and a new magnesium-sulfur battery. How this new battery technology would perform in relation to well-established lithium-ion is unknown, but magnesium is more abundant in the Earth’s crust, doesn’t react in air, and is relatively easy to mine. Sony is apparently focusing on these new capacities, eschewing research into lithium-air batteries.
With Sony targeting a 2020 introduction, it may not be until 2025 – 2030 before we see a widespread adoption across the entire industry. It took years for lithium-ion to move from niche applications to broad availability, and its expected there would be a learning curve for lithium-sulfur as well.