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New Lithium-Air Battery Developed with Great Promise for Future

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 05:51AM

Batteries are a crucial technology for many of the devices we use every day, but while these other devices are continually developed and improved upon, batteries have been advancing very slowly. One potential replacement for modern lithium-ion batteries is the lithium-air battery and has gotten a major boost recently, thanks to University of Cambridge researchers.

Lithium-air batteries can theoretically have very high energy densities, at ten times that of modern lithium-ion batteries, but have been held back by low efficiencies. The voltage gap between charge and discharge is a measure of a battery's efficiency, and previous lithium-air batteries had gaps between 0.5 and 1 volt. By significantly changing the chemistry being used, the Cambridge researchers brought the gap down to 0.2 volts, which comes out to an efficiency of 93% and is much closer to modern batteries. This change in chemistry also reduces the number of unwanted chemical reactions, which improves the lifespan of the battery, and so far it has been recharged over 2000 times.

While this is a significant step towards viable lithium-air batteries, the researchers do not expect them to be ready for another decade. Issues of dendrite formation, charging and discharging rates, and the necessity of cycling with pure oxygen still need to be addressed. With the potential to achieve energy densities rivaling gasoline though, you can bet there will be a great amount of attention given to these batteries.

Source: University of Cambridge

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