The National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) and the NIMS-SoftBank Advanced Technologies Development Center in Japan have created a lithium-air battery with an energy density of more than 500 Wh/kg, much greater than existing lithium-ion batteries. This battery may then be charged and drained at room temperature, according to the study team.
The researchers discovered that the battery they built had the greatest energy densities and longest cycle life yet obtained, and that these findings represent a significant step forward in the practical application of lithium-air batteries. Their research has been published in the RSC journal Materials Horizons as an open-access study.
With theoretical energy densities many times that of presently existing lithium ion batteries, lithium-air batteries have the potential to be lightweight and large capacity. They might be used in a broad variety of technologies, including drones, electric cars, and domestic power storage systems, due to their potential benefits.
With the help of the ALCA-SPRING initiative, NIMS has been doing fundamental research on lithium-air batteries (ALCA: Advanced Low Carbon Technology Research and Development Program, SPRING: Specially Promoted Research for Innovative Next Generation Batteries). The Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) has supported this initiative with the purpose of expediting large-capacity rechargeable battery research and development.
The Advanced Technologies Development Center was co-founded by NIMS and SoftBank in 2018 with the purpose of developing lithium-air batteries for use in mobile phone base stations, the Internet of Things (IoT), HAPS (high altitude platform stations), and other technologies.
Only a few lithium-air batteries with high energy densities have been built and assessed, despite their theoretically high energy densities. This limited success is due to the fact that the lithium-air battery comprises a substantial fraction of heavy inactive components (e.g., separators and electrolytes) that do not directly participate in real battery processes.
In ALCA-SPRING-funded research, this research team has previously produced novel battery materials that considerably improved the performance of lithium-air batteries. At the NIMS-SoftBank Advanced Technologies Development Center, the team devised a method for fabricating high-energy-density lithium-air cells.
Finally, the researchers combined these novel materials and production procedures to build a new lithium-air battery.
The team is presently working on higher-performance battery materials, which they want to include into the newly created lithium-air battery in order to dramatically increase the battery’s cycle life. The team then intends to speed up work at the NIMS-SoftBank Advanced Technologies Development Center to put the battery to use.
The JST ALCA-SPRING initiative and the NIMS-SoftBank Advanced Technologies Development Center provided significant funding for this research.