Scientists from the University of Texas, Dallas (UT Dallas), have discovered a new catalyst material for lithium-air batteries that could boost smartphone and car batteries by five times.
“There is huge promise in lithium-air batteries. However, despite the aggressive research being done, those promises are not being delivered,” said Kyeongjae Cho from UT Dallas. “Our collaboration team have demonstrated that this problem can be solved. Hopefully, this discovery will revitalise research in this area and create momentum for further development,” he added.
Lithium-air or lithium-oxygen batteries breathe oxygen from the air to power chemical reactions that release electricity rather than storing an oxidiser internally such as lithium-ion batteries. Due to this, lithium-air batteries boast an energy density that is comparable to gasoline with theoretical energy densities as much as ten times than that of current lithium-ion batteries. This gives them tremendous potential for storage of renewable energy, particularly in applications such as mobile devices and electric cars. Cho, however, said that it could take anywhere between five and ten years before the batteries could be used commercially. The study was published in the journal, Nature Energy.