MaLiSu – Nanomaterials for future generation lithium sulfur batteries

MaLiSu – Nanomaterials for future generation lithium sulfur batteries

The MaLiSu project will focus on the development of stable lithium sulfur battery cells for future energy storage systems in full electric vehicles. Nanomaterials will be key components in this project to enable high active mass utilization and stable cycling performance within the lithium sulfur cell chemistry. Energy densities of 400 Wh kg-1 on cell level are targeted, a value significantly exceeding the limitations of today’s lithium ion batteries (LIB).

Project aim

Schema einer Lithium-Schwefel-Batteriezelle
© Photo Fraunhofer IWS Dresden

Scheme of a Li-S-battery cell

Nanostrukturierte Kohlenstoffe als Trägermaterial für Schwefelkathoden
© Photo TU Dresden

Nanostructured carbons as host material for sulfur cathodes

Freistehende Kohlenstoff/Schwefel Nanokomposit-Elektoden
© Photo Fraunhofer IWS Dresden

Freestanding carbon/sulfur nanocomposite electrode

Future generation batteries only become feasible for electromobility applications by development of new energy storage concepts in terms of materials and cell chemistry and by addressing the challenging tasks connected to the requirements of the automotive industry at the same time. Energy and power density, costs, safety and lifetime are the most important and impacting criteria for energy storage development. Most significantly the energy density of a battery determines the maximum autonomic driving distance of an electric car and strongly limits the broad replacement of fuel driven vehicles until now.

One promising approach to significantly enhance the energy density of state-of-the-art lithium ion batteries is the lithium sulfur system. Sulfur as the active cathode material has a theoretical specific capacity of 1672 mAh g-1 and an average discharge potential of 2.2 V versus lithium. While for lithium ion batteries using intercalation cathodes a limit in energy density of about 200 Wh kg-1 is expected, for the lithium sulfur battery energy densities of up to 600 Wh kg-1 might be achievable. Furthermore cost reduction and safety increase are attractive features since sulfur is widely available, less expensive and less toxic when compared to conventional cathodes. However, various challenges are connected to the lithium sulfur cell chemistry, which need to be solved within systematic studies and by the development of new material concepts.

In this proposed project these challenges will be addressed and a lithium sulfur battery with significantly improved properties is targeted. Key aspects are:

  • Carbon materials with defined pore structure in the nanometer regime as conductive and stabilizing framework for the sulfur cathodes
  • Polymer electrolytes and electrolyte additives to reduce / suppress the "shuttle" mechanism
  • Coating of lithium anodes to reduce the dendrite formation and electrolyte depletion

Besides fundamental studies on mechanisms and material research, the project aims for a potentially fast transfer of the results to industrial realization.

Project partner


Project partner

  • Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology (IWS)
  • University of Technology Dresden
  • SGL Carbon GmbH
  • Uppsala University
  • Varta Micro Innovation GmbH
  • Scania CV AB

Research funding

The MaLiSu project has received research funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, from the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems and from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology and is co funded by the European Commission in the ERA-NET Plus on Electromobility.

German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
© Photo German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)

German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)

Project duration:

01.05.2012 - 30.04.2015