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IBM's New Lithium-Air Car Battery Offers 500-Mile Range

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IBM seems to be the saviour of all electric vehicles, since it has recently come out with solutions for every major setback they present. For starters, they tackled the problem of the lithium-ion battery, meaning its heaviness, the low energy density and the ensuing range anxiety, all of which kill the buyers’ enthusiasm at the moment.

IBM specialists threw a long look in the direction of lithium-air batteries, noticing something others haven’t: that they replace the heavy metal oxides you can meet in standard lithium ion ones with carbon, making it a great deal lighter than its counterparts.

Also, the stored energy is replaced by oxygen with very high energy density, up to a staggering 1000 more than what a lithium-ion can muster.

Still, there is an impediment to using the lithium-air battery: that oxygen doesn’t go well with the conducting solution and the cathode. This would normally decrease the battery’s lifespan and eliminate it from the race, so to speak.

Apparently, physicists Winfried Wickle and Alessandro Curioni applied an IBM Blue Gene supercomputer and managed to contain the chemical reactions that occurred between oxygen and the conducting solution materials and have done so quite successfully, but they would like to keep it a secret for now.

Using a lithium-air battery instead of a lithium-ion one is a big improvement, which would allow an electric car to travel for 500 miles before recharging. 2020 is the year all this progress is expected to become reality.

[via Geek]

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