US DoE Working To Develop Lithium-Air Batteries

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.

image via US Department of Energy

image via US Department of Energy

“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

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.