Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are working to overcome what they call “a grand research challenge”: how to create lithium-air technology that can take the place of both gasoline and lithium-ion batteries.
According to the lab, lithium-air batteries make use of a catalytic air cathode that supplies oxygen, as well as an electrolyte and lithium anode. It’s a technology that promises to store nearly as much energy as a tank of gas and 10 times more than today’s lithium-ion battery, but “critical scientific challenges” will have to be solved first, including innovations in materials science, chemistry and engineering.
“This is not a near-term technology,” added Jeff Chamberlain, Senior Account Manager in Argonne’s Office of Technology Transfer, in a statement. He notes that it will take time and collaborations across a number of scientific disciplines to address the four main challenges of the commercially viable lithium-air battery: safety, cost, life and performance