An improved high-performance lithium–air battery

Abstract

Although dominating the consumer electronics markets as the power source of choice for popular portable devices, the common lithium battery is not yet suited for use in sustainable electrified road transport. The development of advanced, higher-energy lithium batteries is essential in the rapid establishment of the electric car market. Owing to its exceptionally high energy potentiality, the lithium–air battery is a very appealing candidate for fulfilling this role. However, the performance of such batteries has been limited to only a few charge–discharge cycles with low rate capability. Here, by choosing a suitable stable electrolyte and appropriate cell design, we demonstrate a lithium–air battery capable of operating over many cycles with capacity and rate values as high as 5,000 mAh gcarbon−1 and 3 A gcarbon−1, respectively. For this battery we estimate an energy density value that is much higher than those offered by the currently available lithium-ion battery technology.

Figure 1: PCGA analysis of the oxygen electrode in a lithium cell using a TEGDME–LiCF3SO3 electrolyte.
Figure 2: Analyses of the oxygen electrode in the course of a discharge (formation of lithium peroxide)–charge (reconversion into oxygen and lithium) cycle in a TEGDME–LiCF3SO3 electrolyte lithium cell.
Figure 3: CV of the oxygen electrode in a lithium cell using a TEGDME–LiCF3SO3 electrolyte.
Figure 4: Current–voltage curve of a lithium battery using a TEGDME–LiCF3SO3 electrolyte and a plain carbon electrode.
Figure 5: Cycling response of the lithium/TEGDME–LiCF3SO3/O2 battery under various specific capacity limits.
Figure 6: Discharge polarization curves of the lithium/TEGDME–LiCF3SO3/O2 battery at increasing rates.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported in part by the Human Resources Development of the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) grant funded by the Korea government Ministry of Knowledge Economy (no. 20114010203150) and by the Project ‘REALIST’ (Rechargeable, Advanced, Nano Structured Lithium Batteries with High Energy Storage) sponsored by the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT). The authors thank Chong Seung Yoon of Hanyang University for TEM and SEM measurements.

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J.H., B.S. and Y.-K.S. proposed the concept. H.-G.J. designed the experiment. J-B.P. and H.-G.J. carried out the experiments. J.H., Y.-K.S. and B.S. wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Yang-Kook Sun or Bruno Scrosati.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Jung, HG., Hassoun, J., Park, JB. et al. An improved high-performance lithium–air battery. Nature Chem 4, 579–585 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nchem.1376

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