Perspective | Published:

Bridging the academic and industrial metrics for next-generation practical batteries


Batteries have shaped much of our modern world. This success is the result of intense collaboration between academia and industry over the past several decades, culminating with the advent of and improvements in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. As applications become more demanding, there is the risk that stunted growth in the performance of commercial batteries will slow the adoption of important technologies such as electric vehicles. Yet the scientific literature includes many reports describing material designs with allegedly superior performance. A considerable gap needs to be filled if we wish these laboratory-based achievements to reach commercialization. In this Perspective, we discuss some of the most relevant testing parameters that are often overlooked in academic literature but are critical for practical applicability outside the laboratory. We explain metrics such as anode energy density, voltage hysteresis, mass of non-active cell components and anode/cathode mass ratio, and we make recommendations for future reporting. We hope that this Perspective, together with other similar guiding principles that have recently started to emerge, will aid the transition from lab-scale research to next-generation practical batteries.

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The authors acknowledge support from the US Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Vehicle Technologies Office. PNNL is operated by Battelle for DOE under contract no. DE-AC05-76RL01830. Argonne National Laboratory is operated for DOE by UChicago Argonne, LLC, under contract no. DE-AC02-06CH11357. Y.C. acknowledges financial support from the National Key Research Program of China (no. 2016YFB0100200). M.L. acknowledges financial support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN).

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Correspondence to Jun Lu or Jun Liu or Khalil Amine.

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Fig. 1 Voltage to energy density
Fig. 2: Testing parameters in the Li–S battery system.
Fig. 3: Schematic of the differences between the three experimental methods for evaluating Coulombic efficiency.
Fig. 4: Schematic of the operando coin-cell set-up used for X-ray diffraction studies.