British Researchers Make Lighter, Cheaper, Longer Lithium-oxygen Batteries

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

Researchers at the University of Cambridge say they’ve created a lighter, cheaper, longer lithium-oxygen battery that could eventually rival gasoline engines in electric vehicles in terms of range and weight, Automotive News reported.

The scientists announced that they had created a working prototype of an “ultimate battery” that could be up to 10 times more energy-dense than lithium-ion batteries. They said the battery, to date, could be recharged more than 2,000 times.

The lithium-oxygen batteries could eventually replace lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles and offer a range similar to gasoline engines, but researchers say that could be more than a decade away.

“What we’ve achieved is a significant advance for this technology and suggests whole new areas for research — we haven’t solved all the problems inherent to this chemistry, but our results do show routes forward towards a practical device,” Professor Clare Grey said in a statement announcing the battery.

According to researchers, the demonstration lithium-oxygen battery still presents significant real-world hurdles including only cycling in a pure oxygen atmosphere.

“There’s still a lot of work to do,” Tao Liu, said in a statement. “But what we’ve seen here suggests that there are ways to solve these problems — maybe we’ve just got to look at things a little differently.”

Executives a t Volkswagen and Toyota have said that lithium-oxygen batteries could be significant for EV development, which could enable those cars to increase their ranges by hundreds of miles.

(Photo: Microscopic view of a graphene oxide electrode (black) that hosts the larger lithium hydroxide particles (pink) that form with a lithium-oxide battery discharges. Illustration by Valerie Altounian/Science)

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  • FalconRTV FalconRTV on Nov 01, 2015

    So Volkwagen's version will do hundreds of miles more? Are those VW miles, or real miles?

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Nov 02, 2015

    More baby steps with so far to go. Wake me when they come up with di-lithium crystals.

    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Nov 02, 2015

      This will happen when automotive glass is replaced with transparent aluminum.

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