Research looks at sulfur & silicon as building blocks for new cheaper, solid-state batteries

Solid-state batteries based on sulfide are considered a possible successor technology to today's lithium-ion batteries and promise greater range and safety for use in electric vehicles thanks to their high energy density and stability. The combination with sulfur as the cathode active material holds particular promise.

Free of the critical elements cobalt and nickel used in lithium-ion technology, sulfur achieves very high energy densities in solid-state batteries. However, the anode poses major challenges in the battery's processing and operation. Current research aims to use metallic lithium as negative electrodes in solid-state batteries. The high reactivity

of lithium limits the stability and safety of such cell systems.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), under the leadership of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS in Dresden, will provide funding for six partners from science and industry with a total of nearly 2.9 million Euros. The project was launched in February 2023.

In the context of the BMBF project “MaSSiF," the partners are therefore focusing on an anode material that has also proven to be a promising alternative in current scientific research for use in solid-state batteries: silicon. The combination of sulfur (or lithium sulfide), a solid electrolyte and silicon should result in an innovative cell concept that combines low material costs and high energy density.

The “MaSSiF” project involves research institutes and industrial manufacturers of all the necessary key components to investigate the fundamental structure-property relationships and to process and design components and cells. In this way, battery cells with 350 watt-hours per kilogram and a service life of more than 300 cycles are to be produced. In addition to the high specific energy, there should be significant cost advantages compared to today's Li-ion batteries thanks to low-cost, sustainable raw materials and a short, local supply chain.