Li-O2 Batteries Move Closer to Reality

August 31, 2012 at 6:10 pm Leave a comment

Energy density (energy stored per volume) has been a limiting factor in battery design. If you want to power your car with electricity, you would like a battery that can provide hundreds of miles worth of energy, and yet be small and lightweight.

Lithium ion batteries have become the standard for modern batteries because of their relatively high energy density. Their negative electrode is made from lithium (6.9 amu) and is extremely lightweight, but their positive electrodes typically rely on much heavier metals like cobalt (58.9 amu), nickel (58.7 amu), and manganese (54.9 amu).

One possible step forward over ‘lithium ion’ is the so-called ‘lithium air’ battery. The positive electrode here is molecular oxygen, O2, which would turn into various peroxides when it is reduced (see Lighter, More Powerful Batteries in the Green Science Project, 19 July 2011). A research team in the UK now describes some innovations in lithium-air battery design that lead to much higher charging rates (see A Reversible and Higher-Rate Li-O2 Battery, Science, 3 Aug 2012, DOI: 10.1126/science.1223985)

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Entry filed under: In the News.

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