Lithium-air batteries are positioned to approach the energy density of gasoline

Lithium-air batteries are positioned to approach the energy density of gasoline

Lithium-air (Li-O 2 ) battery technology has emerged as one of the most promising chemistries for improving the capabilities of current batteries. Their arguments have been a high energy density and a lower cost. But the main problem they found was a low life.

Lithium-air batteries

Now a research team has published the results of work that is also already undergoing its validation phase before the start of production.

As we remember, current lithium batteries can reach energy densities of around 200-250 Wh/kg, which has allowed us to develop cars with good autonomy, but at the cost of having to install large and heavy batteries. But we could be on the verge of evolution that allows us to reduce the size of batteries and also achieve this by increasing autonomy.

That is at least what is indicated by the results of the work carried out by a group of researchers from the Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois-Chicago, and the Argonne National Laboratory, who have published the results of the work in the journal Science with a working lithium-air cell that achieves an astonishing 685 Wh/kg in the lab, at room temperature, which they also say should be very cheap to produce.

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In addition to performance, it also has the advantage of being safer than lithium batteries because the electrolyte is completely solid and contains no liquids that could catch fire.

One of the keys to this development is the design of a lightweight ceramic-polymer composite that conducts Li+ ions at room temperature about 15 times better than other solid materials tested so far.

Lithium-air batteries

They also highlight its sustainability since the material used for the cathode is made of abundant elements on Earth (molybdenum phosphide), which is also quite cheap and easy to recycle. A life that according to those responsible already exceeds 1,000 cycles, even at high load powers.

Best of all, the project still has improvement potential ahead to increase energy and volumetric density, but those responses indicate that even at this stage the design is ready to begin the testing and validation phase before the next phase that will already be commercial production, which they hope can be carried out in the short term.

The result will be batteries with a huge leap forward in terms of energy density, but we can also talk about cheaper and safer batteries.

Its final stretch preparing itself as an alternative for the next generation of electric cars, which are expected to land around 2025 and which could even get ahead of the always promising solid electrolyte batteries.

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