To put more energy into the battery is the key to making electric cars with much longer mileage, smartphones with the “eternal” charge and cheap electronics everywhere. Lithium-oxygen batteries represent one of the most promising ways of development in this direction. They can increase the energy density by several orders of magnitude compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries — at least in theory. In a paper published yesterday in the journal Science, scientists from the University of Waterloo have figured out how to solve the biggest obstacles to the establishment of these batteries in the role of commercial reality.
What was the catch? Most importantly, when the lithium-oxygen battery is discharged, oxygen is transformed into superoxide and then to the lithium peroxide, reactive components, which corroded the battery over time. This, in turn, limited its ability to recharge — and a possible useful application.
When we have battery better?
What has changed? To solve this problem, scientists have moved from the carbon cathode to the cathode of the Nickel oxide with the support of stainless steel mesh. Also the electrolyte used was fused salt electrolyte allows positively charged ions to move between the electrodes — and raised the operating temperature of the battery is up to 150 degrees Celsius. It is possible to increase the number of charge cycles is almost three times compared to obychnymi lithium-oxygen options. Also, scientists were able to increase the energy content per unit weight more than 50%.
“This discovery underscores the tremendous opportunity to create new battery technologies that will potentially be able to challenge lithium-ion batteries and other storage methods,” the scientists write.