As electronics advances, the demand for high-performance batteries increases. The lithium-ion battery is currently leading the charge in powering portable electronic devices, but another lithium-based battery contender is on the horizon.
The lithium-air battery is one of the most promising research areas in current lithium-based battery technology. While researchers such as ECS’s K.M. Abraham have been on the Li-air beat since the late 90s, current research is looking to propel this technology with the hopes of commercializing it for practical use.
A new contender: Lithium-air batteries
Recently, Khalil Amine, IMLB chair; and Larry Curtiss, IMLB invited speaker, co-authored a paper detailing a lithium-air battery that could store up to five times more energy than today’s lithium-ion battery.
This work brings society one step closer to the commercial use of lithium-air batteries. In previous works regarding Li-air, researchers continuously encountered the same phenomenon of the clogging of the pores of the electrode.
This from Argonne National Laboratory:
In a recent experiment, however, [researchers] were able to produce stable crystallized lithium superoxide (LiO2) instead of lithium peroxide during battery discharging. Unlike lithium peroxide, lithium superoxide can easily dissociate into lithium and oxygen, leading to high efficiency and good cycle life.
Developing a new battery
“This discovery really opens a pathway for the potential development of a new kind of battery,” Curtiss says. “Although a lot more research is needed, the cycle life of the battery is what we were looking for.”
(MORE: Read “A lithium-oxygen battery based on lithium superoxide“)
The breakthrough in this study revolves around the lithium superoxide, which allows form the Li-air battery to consist of a “closed system.” Essentially, this allows for the battery to reject the constant intake of extra oxygen from the environment, making them both safer and more efficient.
“The stabilization of the superoxide phase could lead to developing a new closed battery system based on lithium superoxide, which has the potential of offering truly five times the energy density of lithium ion,” Amine says.