The rechargeable lithium battery is one of the most successful electrochemical technologies of the past few decades. It has transformed portable electronics, is the technology of choice for battery electric vehicles, and will have a key role in balancing the intermittent supply of electricity from renewable sources with consumer demand. However, to meet the needs of new markets in the medium to long term, new generations of rechargeable lithium batteries are necessary and this in turn requires a step-change in the underpinning electrochemical science.
The operation of Li-ion batteries depends on Li intercalation. The talk will consider the effect of nanostructured intercalation electrodes for Li (nanotubes, nanowires, and mesoporous solids) on the intercalation process. Such nanostructured materials, in which lengths are controlled simultaneously on the micron, nano, and atomic scale, will be compared with the equivalent bulk and nanoparticulate intercalation hosts. To meet the long term needs of energy storage it is necessary to go beyond lithium-ion batteries. One approach is the lithium-air battery, which theoretically could deliver a battery electric vehicle with a 300 mile driving range. The underlying scientific challenges that face technological realization of this energy storage device will be discussed.
Peter Bruce FRS, FRSE, FRSC, is the Wardlaw Professor of Chemistry at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. His research interests embrace materials chemistry and electrochemistry, especially the synthesis and characterization of new and novel materials (extended arrays and polymers) with new properties or combinations of properties for new generations of lithium batteries. Recent efforts have focused on the synthesis and understanding of nanoelectrodes for lithium-ion batteries, including nanowire/nanotube intercalation anodes (TiO2) and mesoporous cathodes (LiMn2O4), novel approaches to high capacity lithium batteries (the lithium-air battery), and the influence of order on the ionic conductivity of polymer electrolytes. His research has been recognized by a number of awards and fellowships, including from the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the German Chemical Society, and The Electrochemical Society. He was elected to the Royal Society (UK Academy of Sciences) in 2007 and the Royal Society of Edinburgh (Scottish Academy of Sciences) in 1994.