News Picks : Improved lithium–air battery being developed for next-generation electric cars
30 October 2015
Nature: Despite their wide use in consumer electronics, lithium–air batteries have not achieved the energy storage capacity necessary to allow an electric car to travel the 800 km that a gas-powered one can. That could change if several innovations by Clare Grey of Cambridge University and her coworkers can be scaled up to allow their battery to achieve a higher current density. For the electrolyte, they use a mixture of dimethoxyethane and lithium iodide because when it is mixed with oxygen from the air, it produces lithium hydroxide, a substance that decomposes more readily than the lithium peroxide produced by many earlier battery designs. Lithium peroxide's buildup proved hard to remove from the electrode and severely decreased battery life. For the electrode, Grey and company use reduced graphene oxide, which is much more resilient than the other versions of porous carbon that have been used. Although the novel combination of materials looks promising, commercialization appears to still be a long way off.