Whereas previous research reports have celebrated the ability to recharge a lithium-sulfur battery 150 times, the Stanford researchers recharged their battery 1,000 times and still retained substantial energy storage capacity. In some electric vehicle configurations, that would be enough to last several years. Commercial versions of the batteries could approximately double battery storage compared to lithium-ion batteries, says Yi Cui, a professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford. The batteries retained 81 percent of their capacity after 500 cycles and 67 percent after 1,000 cycles. Cui says that the nanomaterials can be made with simple methods that lend themselves to high-volume manufacturing.
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Some of the most promising battery chemistries—which, in theory, could store several times more energy than today’s lithium-ion batteries and cost much less—have a fatal flaw. They can’t be recharged very often before they stop working, making them useless for applications such as electric vehicles. Now researchers at Stanford have created novel nanostructures that greatly increase the number of times one of these chemistries can be recharged, even to levels high enough for many commercial applications.
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