Research Article

Cycling Li-O2 batteries via LiOH formation and decomposition

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Science  30 Oct 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6260, pp. 530-533
DOI: 10.1126/science.aac7730

Solving the problems with Li-air batteries

Li-air batteries come as close as possible to the theoretical limits for energy density in a battery. By weight, this is roughly 10 times higher than conventional lithium-ion batteries and would be sufficient to power cars with a range comparable to those with gasoline engines. But engineering a Li-air battery has been a challenge. Liu et al. managed to overcome the remaining challenges: They were able to avoid electrode passivation, turn limited solvent stability into an advantage, eliminate the fatal problems caused by superoxides, achieve high power with negligible degradation, and even circumvent the problems of removing atmospheric water.

Science, this issue p. 530


The rechargeable aprotic lithium-air (Li-O2) battery is a promising potential technology for next-generation energy storage, but its practical realization still faces many challenges. In contrast to the standard Li-O2 cells, which cycle via the formation of Li2O2, we used a reduced graphene oxide electrode, the additive LiI, and the solvent dimethoxyethane to reversibly form and remove crystalline LiOH with particle sizes larger than 15 micrometers during discharge and charge. This leads to high specific capacities, excellent energy efficiency (93.2%) with a voltage gap of only 0.2 volt, and impressive rechargeability. The cells tolerate high concentrations of water, water being the dominant proton source for the LiOH; together with LiI, it has a decisive impact on the chemical nature of the discharge product and on battery performance.

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