Which raw material can store as much energy as cobalt and nickel in lithium ion batteries, but is less polluting and more readily available? Sulphur is a strong candidate, based on prototypes of lithium sulphur batteries. In the coming years, VITO and its partners will determine whether a sustainable and competitive sulphur-based battery is within reach.

Demand for batteries is increasing faster than ever. This has everything to do with the advance of electric vehicles and the continuing demand for smartphones and laptops. However, rare and critical raw materials such as cobalt and nickel are needed for their production. Moreover, these materials are toxic and require large amounts of water and energy to mine and purify.

VITO, Hasselt University, IMEC and KU Leuven – together EnergyVille – are joining forces to develop new generations of batteries for sustainable and intelligent energy systems. 

Promising technology

In the coming years, VITO and Hasselt University will be working within the EnergyVille consortium on research to further improve lithium-sulphur batteries. The technology looks promising in any case: lithium-sulphur batteries have the potential to store five times more energy than current lithium-ion batteries. Another important argument: sulphur is the third most common raw material on earth and is often considered a waste product.

The partners want to prove by 2022 that their innovative technology works and that a sustainable and competitive lithium sulphur battery is within reach. This should make us less dependent on critical materials for the storage of renewable energy.