Posted by: Dr. Breffni Lennon | July 20, 2012

Is the lithium–air battery the answer to the electric car question?

battery,lithium,electric vehicle

Image: Courtesy of the University of Saint Andrews (via Scientific American)

Is the  lithium–air battery the answer to the electric car question? According to reports in the Scientific American and Science Now, we may be on the verge of a revolutionary breakthrough in battery design that may soon make electric cars a viable, commercial reality.  Lithium-air batteries apparently have the potential to store up to ten times more energy than anything today’s best lithium-ion batteries have to offer. This potential could in turn enable electric cars to compete with traditional internal combustion engines in that all important category of range.

Also, in the latest online edition of Science Express (published July 19 2012) Peng et al. report that lithium-air batteries are indeed possible using gold electrodes and dimethyl sulfoxide electrolytes, and retain 95% capacity up to the first 100 charges. While the authors acknowledge that the high cost of producing these prototypes in the laboratory do not make them easily transferable to the marketplace for the moment, they have made a significant first step towards achieving that goal.

Reference:

Zhangquan Peng, Stefan A. Freunberger, Yuhui Chen, Peter G. Bruce (2012) A Reversible and Higher-Rate Li-O2 Battery. Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1223985. Online, available here.

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