Asahi Kasei and Central Glass will join IBM’s Battery 500 Project team to collaborate on far-reaching research to develop practical Lithium-air batteries capable of powering a family-sized electric car for approximately 500 miles (800 km) on a single charge—i.e., a battery pack with about 125 kWh capacity at an average use of 250 Wh/mile. IBM launched the project in 2009. (Earlier post.)
As partners in the Battery 500 Project, Asahi Kasei and Central Glass bring decades of materials innovation for the automotive industry to the team. They will expand the project’s scope and, although the scientific and engineering challenges to its practical implementation are extremely high, explore several chemistries simultaneously to increase the chances of success.
Asahi Kasei, one of Japan’s leading chemical manufactures and a leading global supplier of separator membrane for lithium-ion batteries, will use its experience in innovative membrane technology to create a critical component for lithium-air batteries.
Central Glass, a leading global electrolyte manufacturer for lithium-ion batteries, will use its chemical expertise in this field to create a new class of electrolytes and high-performance additives specifically designed to improve lithium-air batteries.
To popularize electric cars, IBM says, an energy density ten times greater than that of conventional lithium-ion batteries is needed, and these new partners to the project can help drive lithium-air technology towards that goal. Lithium-air batteries have higher energy density than lithium-ion batteries, due to their lighter cathodes and the fact that their primary “fuel” is the oxygen readily available in the atmosphere.
New materials development is vitally important to ensuring the viability of lithium-air battery technology. As a long-standing partner of IBM and leader in developing high-performance electrolytes for batteries, we’re excited to share each other’s chemical and scientific expertise in a field as exciting as electric vehicles.—Tatsuya Mori, Director, Executive Managing Officer, Central Glass
In a 2010 Perspective (Girishkumar et al.) published in ACS’ Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, a team from IBM Research-Almaden suggested that the transition to Li-air batteries (if successful) should be viewed in terms of a multi-decade development cycle.
This research will take place at IBM Research – Almaden in California. The Battery 500 Project research is also done in conjunction with the other Battery 500 Project collaborators, including national laboratories.
G. Girishkumar, B. McCloskey, A. C. Luntz, S. Swanson and W. Wilcke (2010) Lithium-Air Battery: Promise and Challenges. J. Phys. Chem. Lett., doi: 10.1021/jz1005384