Lithium Sulfur Batteries

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antiscab
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Post by antiscab » Fri, 31 Dec 2010, 16:52

HI Guys,

Just saw this on the Thundersky/Winston battery website:

Large Format Lithium Sulfur Cells

interestinly, 600Ah is the smallest size.

Does anyone know more about these batteries?

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Post by bga » Fri, 31 Dec 2010, 19:09

See here: http://www.sionpower.com/

They have demonstrated 380 wh/kg.
15kwh in TS lifepo (200kg) = 75 kwh in LiS and Sulfur is cheap.

They think that 600 wh/kg is achievable in the near future.

Sounds promising.
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Post by coulomb » Sat, 01 Jan 2011, 07:11

antiscab wrote: interestingly, 600Ah is the smallest size.

Huh. But they state that the charge voltage (maximum charge voltage?) is 2.3 V. So these may have a nominal voltage of 2.0 or 2.1 V.

So you would need about 3.2/2.0 = 1.6 times as many cells to equal LiFePO4. (Assuming a nominal voltage of 2.0 verses 3.2 for LiFe). So 600 Ah would be equivalent to about 375 Ah of LiFe. Still very good.

But still that makes them about 1.9x the energy density (3 / 1.6 = 1.9) of LiFe.

Cycle life of 2000 is OK, but not as high as they are quoting for LiFe. Very good (-35C) low temperature operation, including charging.

It would be nice to see a discharge curve for these.
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Post by coulomb » Sat, 01 Jan 2011, 07:42

I found a discharge curve here:

Image

From http://www.electrochem.org/dl/ma/203/pdfs/0117.pdf.

Looks nice and flat, and close to 2.0 VPC (handy for PbSO4 replacements). This article seems to be implying a rather high self discharge rate, though TS/Winston are claiming 2% monthly (verses 3% monthly for LiFe).
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Post by antiscab » Sun, 02 Jan 2011, 00:38

with that 600Ah cell and 2v nominal, looks like were looking at 225wh/kg in a large format battery.

interesting.
I wonder why TS are making 600Ah the smallest...

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Post by coulomb » Sun, 02 Jan 2011, 02:35

antiscab wrote: with that 600Ah cell and 2v nominal, looks like were looking at 225wh/kg in a large format battery.
Well, perhaps 1.9 nominal with sag, depending on what the internal resistance is like. So say 215 Wh/kg.
interesting.
Definitely.
I wonder why TS are making 600Ah the smallest...

My guess is that their first customer (cough.. tank.. cough.. (total guess)) needed a larger capacity. This sort of innovation seems to be somewhat driven by the military.

They only seem to offer the three sizes at present. My guess is also that the technology is very new and unproven (and possibly expensive). But that also means that there could be good improvements soon.
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Post by 7circle » Sun, 02 Jan 2011, 04:11

Is it a simple chemistry contronstruction or does it invlolve special nanoo particles and other rare earths to make it viable?

LiFe with Yttrium and carbon nano particles for extra surfave area adds price due th ecomplextity.

Also are they easlily recyclable.
And non toxic.

I hope it ticks all the boxes. But $/Wh/life is whats important if they can get to over 500Wh/kg.

7C

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Post by 7circle » Sun, 02 Jan 2011, 04:41

This makes my ideas of a 50Vdc pack with huge Ahr and a DC/DC more attractive.

The 226Wh/kg looks good.
Using there 600Ah/2V/5.5kg cell compared to there 160Ah/3.2V LiFe at 5.6kg.

I hope their price is good, and other details. I noticed a while ago these cells but haven't seen any pricing.

Strange their site has no Charge discharge curves. or life cycle graph for usage profile to load/charge.

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Post by bga » Sun, 02 Jan 2011, 04:46

Nothing I've read hints at tricky materials, although there is obviously a little way to go in the manufacturing.

600AH would make a good truck battery.
...or an epic car battery ~400kg = 160V@600AH = 96kwh = 500km?
Lower AH would be good.

There was some hints in my search that these may also be available in a li-poly type pouch configuration sometime.

from http://www.sionpower.com/articles.html:
"Li-S cells can accommodate over-charge. The cell creates a chemical shuttle between the lithium and sulfur electrodes thereby shunting over charge currents. This permits the cell to tolerate up to three times the specified C rate charging, and this is accomplished without electronic controls. Continued improvements in electrolyte compositions are expected to bring electrical abuse under full control without the reliance on electronics. This does not mean electronic controls will be eliminated entirely but it does mean that the chemistry itself can provide its own inherent safe response to extreme charges or discharges."

Hopefully the hurdles on the track to useful lifespan, performance and capacity aren't too difficult and we see some more products before too long.

Is it time to request some info from TS?
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Post by 7circle » Sun, 02 Jan 2011, 06:13

There tree ah sizes of 600, 1000, and 2000Ah look more focused on EV's with a lower pack voltage.

A 600Ah pack at 150V is 90kWh and would weigh 75 x 5.3kg = 400kg
A 600Ah pack at 50V is 30kWh and would weigh 25 x 5.3kg = 133kg

I wonder why they haven't made smaller cells like 100A, 200Ah or 300Ah?

Intereting find BGA, a 3C over charge capability on the sionpower cells.

I wonder if this is transferable to other brands?

3C charge that is overflowing the chemistry of charging could be 2.5V x 3C or 7.5W/ah or 750W for a 100Ah cell and with 150 cells making a 300V pack need to loose 112kW that is alot of power loss in the cell. That is going to cause some serious heating. But better than damaging the electrodes with de-solving electrolyte.

Would be very interesting to get some of these cells.

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Post by bga » Sun, 02 Jan 2011, 07:58

Getting hot is a lot better than a giant roman candle with huge flames a'la Li-Co laptop batteries!

The "some electronics" sounds to be the operative word, but it may be voltage and temperature monitoring without the external bypass shunt resistors that make our LiFePo BMSes tricky.

I have read some stuff on issues like bonding and conduction problems with the sulfur electrodes. Also, it seems that the anode reaction causes a significant volume change as lithium is plated onto it during charging, causing fatigue issues that make for a short cycle endurance.

The following mention a number of serious shortcomings, one of which isn't theoretical capacity:
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2010/03 ... 00312.html
also here:
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/05 ... 90515.html

The above certainly sound as though we should not be holding our breath for LiS batteries, making the TS-Winston product even more intriguing.
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Post by coulomb » Sun, 02 Jan 2011, 17:41

7circle wrote: Their three Ah sizes of 600, 1000, and 2000 Ah look more focused on EV's with a lower pack voltage.

Definitely. The 900 Ah unit has 4 terminals; I wonder if these are isolated cells that could actually be wired in series. That would give two cells of 450 Ah each, which would reduce the minimum size pack by 25%. Say 56 cells to go with a Curtis 1238-7501 AC controller that has a maximum of 130 V input (56 x 2.3 = 128.8). Assuming a nominal voltage of 1.9 V, that's a nominal 106.4 V pack @ 450 Ah, or 48 kWh, weighing 205 kg (just bare cell mass). It's a shame that the maximum to nominal voltage ratio (2.3:1.9) is 1.21:1, whereas LiFe is 3.6:3.2 = 1.13:1. The equivalent LiFe pack would be 36 cells, for a nominal voltage of 115.2, 8% higher than LiS (assuming a nominal voltage of 1.9 V, something I guesstimated based on scant data). With low voltage controllers, it's nice to get the highest voltage you can (especially with the AC50 and AC30 motors that are available, which seem to yearn for more voltage).

If (as seems very likely) the 900 Ah cells are internally paralleled, then at present the entry level pack for the 1238-7501 controller would be 56 cells at 5.3 kg each or 297 kg, which is just bearable I think. The resultant nominal capacity of 56 * 600 * 1.9 = 64 kWh is of course to die for.

[ Edit: and with a maximum DC input of about 700 A (550 A RMS peak output, guessing 95% efficiency), the 600 Ah cells would be loafing along at a peak discharge rate of 1.17C! A 3-4x increase in energy density does solve a number of problems... ]
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Post by coulomb » Sun, 02 Jan 2011, 18:03

7circle wrote: Their three ah sizes of 600, 1000, and 2000Ah look more focused on EV's with a lower pack voltage.

Actually, I see 600, 900, and 2000.

And I've just discovered that there is a page 2 now (not sure if that's new or I missed it last time); it shows cells of 3 000 and 30 000 Ah!!   Image The latter weighs 310 kg for a single cell! These cells are 756 mm tall, and have 44 terminals:

Image

The 20C impulse current would be 30 000 x 20 = 600 kA   Image

I wonder if they really test that figure...

At 1.9 VPC nominal, this cell would be 57 kWh! You really could run an EV off one of those cells, if you had a suitably efficient DC-DC (but of course, it would not be practical).
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Post by antiscab » Sun, 02 Jan 2011, 18:31

page two was there when I initially posted.

think submarine batteries.

I'm considering a delivery van conversion in the next few years.
AC50 and 64kwh worth of battery would do it well, it just will be a bit gutless.

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Post by bga » Tue, 04 Jan 2011, 18:19

Hi Matt,

I get a strong whiff of vapourware on the TS site.

The 30kAh cell would likely have serious internal heating issues and need a built-in cooling system. This makes me suspect that it is an extrapolation of the other cells.

I haven't read any papers that support these cells performing anything like the TS AHA cells, making me think that the specs have been copied from there.

I am making inquiries with TS at present and will post these when I have some response.
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Post by coulomb » Tue, 04 Jan 2011, 21:21

bga wrote: I get a strong whiff of vapourware on the TS site.
Yes, same here. It sounds way too good to be true.

Although TS cells seem to be reliable and usable lately, let's remember that this is the same company that supplied seriously defective cells (this was before the current yellow LiFe cells) and didn't make any attempt to redress the problems.
I am making inquiries with TS at present and will post these when I have some response.

Excellent!

I was meaning to see if someone that regularly imports these cells (EV Works, or David Kois from the US) and see if they know anything about these cells. Possibly, a request from a larger customer might elicit a better response than a DIY individual. A quick search on DIYelectriccar didn't turn up anything.
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Post by bga » Fri, 07 Jan 2011, 01:59

Hi All,

I've got some anwers...
The LSP cells aren't in production yet.
They can't give an estimated time they will be in production, so we'll have to monitor the website for some indication of them becoming saleable.

I didn't get any indication of smaller than 600AH cells, but I would expect that these would follow after they get one product up and running.

I am working on getting a an 'Announcements' page added to the TS web site so that we have a place to look for announcement.

[edit]
I guess it will appear in the normal products page when it's ready to go. The link at the start of this toipc is direct to the page, which is currently a placeholder for LSP cells. This would explain the suspect specifications.

As per the previous posts; the papers I have read seem to indicate that LSP cells have a few major hurdles before they will be commercial. On a hopeful note, most of the research papers are for cells in the 400 wh/kg area, not 250 wh/kg.

So far, nobody has made a Li-S cell that works for more then 50 cycles, it may be some time before we see this product.

Cheers
BGA
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Post by coulomb » Fri, 07 Jan 2011, 03:33

bga wrote: I've got some answers...
The LSP cells aren't in production yet.

Ok, pretty much as I suspected.

It seems strange to me to put up a product page, as if they were in production, without so much as a "prerelease" or "coming soon" marker on the page.

If they are a lot closer to production that I believe they are, then it might make some sense.

Oh well; I guess we "watch this space".

Thanks for doing the enquiry, BGA.
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Post by bga » Fri, 07 Jan 2011, 05:18

Ignore me, I wasn't reading it right last time I looked.
TS is showing LSP on the product page I get from www.thundersky.com.

There is something else odd in TS web-land:
I searched the page ids for the things I remember being on their web
previously and located some of the missing pages:
LFP cells (did not find)
LCP cells (fid2=68)        (see the page address for fid2)
LMP cells (fid2=69)
Motors (fid2=88) - big and heavy
Motors (fid2=110) - different
Motorhome (fid2=113) - with 900kwh battery!!! and pictures of a real it

Perhaps the other cell types are only forgotten and not discontinued.

It may be that the web page wasn't edit very well last time it was touched.
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Post by 7circle » Fri, 07 Jan 2011, 12:49

I had no feed back on my inquiry of 300kWh worth of cells.

Maybe they will only respond if quantities are over 1MWh.
bga wrote:So far, nobody has made a Li-S cell that works for more then 50 cycles, it may be some time before we see this product.
Where did you get this info?


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Post by bga » Sat, 08 Jan 2011, 02:19

I may have been a bit harsh saying nobody, but it does seem to be one of the major problems.
The MIT/Stanford link seems to be the only one the talks specifically about cycle life. Most of the other stuff I've read is circumspect about this issue.

http://www.sionpower.com/pdf/articles/W ... ePaper.pdf
2004 paper quotes about 100 cycles.

http://www.sionpower.com/pdf/articles/I ... attery.pdf
No specific mention of cycling tests, but promising graphs on self-discharge.

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2010/03 ... 00312.html
Specific mention of cycle life issues

http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/24758/?ref=rss
Stanford:
Specifically mentions 40-50 cycles in Mar 2010.
Page 2 points to the polysulfide issue.

http://www.greenoptimistic.com/2010/03/ ... r-battery/
Same cells as above, but mentions U.Waterloo as the originator.

http://www.examiner.com/automotive-tech ... prime-time
More commentary.
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Post by 7circle » Sat, 08 Jan 2011, 08:02

It's like talking about cold fusion.

Why does a company post they have a product when they are as good as sparklers at a movie show.

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Post by bga » Sat, 08 Jan 2011, 20:32

Hi 7c,

I think that its more likely than cold fusion.
I remember going to a lecture given by James Mahaffe from Georgia Tech after cold fusion mania had blown up. Chronology here

I don't think that Li-S is as bad as that, at least the batteries work initially, but there are some problems in manufacturing.

These problems may also be more severe when going for high capacities, like 630 Wh/kg. More modest capacities like 250 Wh/kg may be a lot easier to achieve.

Maybe 500 cycles is tolerable if the vehicle range is 300km and 'fills' only occur once per week or less frequently. (I'd be happy with that)

I am much less skeptical than I was with the 'eestor' super-duper capacitor company which exhibited all the hallmarks of a scam. At least, there's plenty to read about Li-S.

Whatever it is, we should see some pointers before too long.

Cheers

PS
I wonder if Winston-TS got swamped with inquiries about the LSP cells?

I've sent them an email via the company link an we'll see if the web pages change in the next few of weeks. We'd hope that the Li-S will disappear until it's ready and we'll have an announcements section to read.
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Post by bga » Thu, 13 Jan 2011, 16:45

I got a response from Winston-Thundersky on the subject:

They are currently testing and manufacturing for a particular customer, who evidently wants a 600AH cell. They weren't able to say when they would have a general sale product.

All the above sounds promising.

Also, LFP cells have been replaced with LYP cells. These offer better cycle life and apparently lower internal impedance.
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Post by T1 Terry » Fri, 14 Jan 2011, 23:14

What does the LYP stand for?

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