Volkswagen Is Sole OEM Attending Lithium-Sulfur Battery Workshop


Lithium Sulfur Seems to be a Stand Out

Lithium Sulfur Seems to be a Stand Out

Fraunhofer IWS in Dresden, Germany will hold its 3rd annual workshop on Lithium-sulfur batteries from 12-13 November 2014,” reports Green Car Congress.

Any workshop/conference/research on lithium-sulfur interests us due to this statement by Fraunhofer:

“…Lithium-sulfur batteries are the most promising choice for future energy storage systems, with novel materials such as nanostructured carbon/sulfur composite cathodes, solid electrolytes and alloy-based anodes expected to enhance significantly the cell’s performance.”

But what really caught our attention in regards to this workshop is that Volkswagen will be the sole OEM in attendance:

“The sole OEM presentation will be a talk by Dr. Oliver Gröger from Volkswagen AG on recent developments on Li-sulfur batteries with silicon anodes and a comparison to commercially available NMC-based batteries.”

Green Car Congress adds:

“Volkswagen AG filed a patent application in October 2012 (published in December 2013) on a new metal-sulfur battery system (e.g., lithium-sulfur, although other metals from the group of lithium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, aluminum and zinc are supported), with a focus on a novel multi-layered separator to reduce polysulfide shuttling and dendrite growth from the metal anode; Dr. Gröger was one of the inventors.”

So, is Volkswagen leading the lithium-sulfur charge?  It sure seems that’s the case.

Source: Green Car Congress

Categories: Battery Tech, Volkswagen

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24 Comments on "Volkswagen Is Sole OEM Attending Lithium-Sulfur Battery Workshop"

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So what is the y-axis on that graph supposed to represent?

The y-axis represents Wh/kg.

Keep in mind that, for cars, the x-axis is more important.

I would respectfully disagree. I think weight is more critical than volume in an electric car.

I don’t know. The next Volt weighs ~3,700lbs, which is in the M3 and S5 range of 3,600-3,800lbs. That Li-NMC weight doesn’t seem so sinful, especially if we’re going to compare where it was placed. If you’re talking about BEVs, starting with light & sporty doesn’t seem too logical, unless you want to keep the costs down with ICE, until that day arrives.

Volume matters more than weight. It has huge impacts on the car architecture at the moment of the design or what you decide to transform an ICE car to an EV. On a A or B segment car, size is the 1st priority if you want to pack more energy. Batteries just need to fit between the wheels !

Weight impacts mostly the front and rear axis dimensions, performance, brakes and fuel consumption: it is a hindrance you can overcome or just accept but not a real showstopper. On an EV, you increase the engine size and you can easily yield more hp for instance.

Lithium sulphur ain’t too great in respect of volume.
I’m a bit surprised VW are so interested as they would be reluctant to redesign their platforms again to accommodate a bulkier battery pack, and without that range benefits are limited.

Lithium-Sulfur has been demonstrated to be a lot safer in both impact and thermal runaway than NMC/LMO/etc. This gives you more flexibility in where they can be placed vs cells that need active cooling/heating/management systems.

Ultimately though, it’s $$/kWh that matter. Weight, volume, temperament, power density, can all be dealt with, if the cells are cheap enough. The raw materials for a Li-S battery are a lot cheaper / kWh. Lithium isn’t as expensive as people think, people will practically pay you to take sulfur away, and because each layer of the battery is more efficient, you need less collector material per kWh. Copper (and Aluminum) in a battery make up a fair amount of its cost.

ultimately, price matters the most.

25kwh PACK (not cells) costing around 10k USD to manufacture today, there is a lot of room for improvement.

I personally think that the future will be “HYBRID BATTERIES” with a small 15kwh pack for daily usage (slow charge, cheap bc comon with the PHEV ) and then a bigger pack, be it state of the art Li-ion or whatever expensive but very performant, or just a bigger cheaper pack for people who don’t need fast chargin and want cost savings.
the bigger costly pack will be protected for wear and tear because used only a couple of times per month (when doing more than 60miles in 1 trip) and will benefit from specific cooling strategies to allow fast charging.

Consider the Model S. Its battery pack weighs over 1000 lbs, but the cells are only about 690 lbs.

Using LiS at 400 Wh/kg and 400 Wh/L, Tesla could get the cells down to about 470 lbs, so that’s 220 lbs savings, or less than 5% of the car’s mass. These new batteries would need 3 cubic feet more volume (a significant intrusion), and likely more weight to protect and cool the larger pack.

I don’t think that you can compare across different chemistries and formats like that, as too many factors change.

Maybe you’re right that many factors change, but to first order you can look at the mass/volume of the cells.

It’s hard to imagine that LiS would need substantially different cooling or protection, though, especially with Tesla using the pack as a structural member.

Like DaveMart says there are too many other variables. There is 310lbs in the Tesla example that is not battery. Obviously that 310lbs takes up some volume. Even if it’s the same density as the battery cells, that’s 30% of the battery module’s volume. The Li-S cells might not require active cooling, what % of the module volume is that? The Li-S cells probably won’t need armor plating or cell spacing to prevent thermal runaway. How much volume is that?
You have to look at the whole system when you start talking about module sizes/weights.

Well, good on VW. Still waiting to be able to buy a New Beetle EV in a Non-CARB state… 😛

Not sure when you can buy a New Beetle EV, but I’m willing to bet you $20 you’ll be able to buy an eGolf in all 50 states by the end of 2015. That gives them 14 months from launch. Nissan took over 15 months to roll out the Leaf nationwide, so I think that’s only fair.

The “LocaL” VW Dealership recently said they will NOT carry any EVs– since they don’t have any mechanics trained to work on them. They specifically told me they will not sell vehicles they can’t service… 🙁

That is unfortunate. I have not yet prodded the local VW dealers to see if anyone will be carrying the eGolf. But if they don’t, I can always travel downstate. I’m pretty sure that NYS will get this in 2014 or very early 2015.

Likewise, your local VW dealer cannot be the only one in your state. I’m sure we will continue to have some dealers push back on EVs due to the new training and other requirements, but I still believe that it will be available in 50 states.

The VW group put $13.5 billion into R & D last year.

That sort of money tends to make things happen if it is possible at all.

For 300 Miles 2018 Audi / Porsche BEV? Guess too early though

Just speculating

VW have several irons in the battery chemistry fire, and can probably hit 300 miles using NMC without going to lithium sulphur.

And we’re not speculating why VW was alone because of…?

Because I have no idea.
Why do you think it was?

It looks to be inaccurate anyway.
The Green Car Congress source for the article actually says:

‘The sole OEM presentation will be a talk by Dr. Oliver Gröger from Volkswagen AG on recent developments on Li-sulfur batteries with silicon anodes and a comparison to commercially available NMC-based batteries.’

A presentation is not the same as attendance.

How it became attendance is a mystery you will have to ask Eric about.

This is very interesting. Especially in the light of VW claiming to have significantly increased battery energy density in as little as 2 years, making their cars go ~186 miles as compared to ~125 miles as of today (2014).