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High-Performance, Low Weight Lithium-Air Battery to Power Future EVs

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Handout picture by Tao Liu shows part of the University of Cambridge's laboratory demonstration model of a lithium-oxygen batteryScientists from University of Cambridge announced a major breakthrough in developing lithium-air batteries, which can lead to much lighter electric vehicles.

Lithium ion batteries are without a doubt the most widely spread energy storage technology at the moment. From tiny electronic gadgets, to electric vehicles, everything that needs electrical power, comes with a lithium-ion battery.

As good as they can be in doing their job, lithium ion batteries are far from perfect, and everyone can agree on this here. They are bulky and heavy, and their performance deteriorates with time. What is more, the range for a fully charged battery is still not able to get even close to that of a full tank of gas.

For many years now, scientists and chemists have tried to find lighter alternatives that can outperform Li-ion, but nothing has managed to quite do it until now. A team of researchers working at the University of Cambridge, however, claim to have found the solution. They developed a demonstrator lithium-air battery that can go through 2000 recharge cycles and has an efficiency of 93%.

To date, lithium-air batteries were known for their light weight but limited performance, safety issues, and low capacity and lifetime. The new development, however, employs different chemistry- it has an electrode made of graphene, and uses lithium hydroxide instead of the old lithium peroxide.

The result is a much more stable and efficient lithium air battery than can potentially boost the range of EVs incredibly.

The study was just published in the prestigious journal Science, the technology is patented by University of Cambridge, and it is heading fast towards commercialization.

Image (c) Reuters

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