Breakthrough battery prototype can store five times the energy of current Li-ion batteries

Lithium-Oxygen Battery Research

It’s the question that smartphone users have been asking for years: When will we get vastly better battery power in our devices? Thanks to some breakthrough research, significantly better battery technology may arrive sooner than expected. IFLScience points us to new research published in the Nature science journal that describes a prototype for a so-called “lithium-oxygen” battery that is based on lithium superoxide (LiO2) and can store up to five times the energy of current lithium-ion batteries.

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According to the article in Nature, these kinds of batteries have proven tricky to develop in the past since “solid LiO2 has been difficult to synthesize in pure form because it is thermodynamically unstable.” However, they’ve now discovered “that crystalline LiO2 can be stabilized in a Li–O2 battery by using a suitable graphene-based cathode,” thus making it far less likely that these batteries will overheat.

“This discovery really opens a pathway for the potential development of a new kind of battery,” Larry Curtiss, one of the coauthors of the study, explained in an official statement posted by the Argonne National Laboratory. “Although a lot more research is needed, the cycle life of the battery is what we were looking for.”

Curtiss also explains that using lithium-superoxide to store energy offers the promise of creating a lithium-air battery that is a closed system and thus wouldn’t require constant intake of oxygen. Such closed systems are safer and more stable than open systems.

You can learn more about this research at the Argonne National Laboratory’s website here.

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