Chemists from the University of Waterloo have successfully resolved two of the most challenging issues surrounding lithium-oxygen batteries, and in the process created a working battery with near 100% coulombic efficiency. The new work, published in Science, shows that four-electron conversion for lithium-oxygen electrochemistry is highly reversible. The Waterloo team... Read more →


Using an in situ liquid transmission electron microscopy technique that can visualize chemical reactions occurring in liquid environments, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a new reason lithium-oxygen batteries—which promise up to five times more energy than the lithium-ion batteries that currently... Read more →


Dendritic growth of lithium (Li) on lithium metal anodes has hobbled the practical application of Li-metal batteries, despite their theoretical benefits such as high capacity and low redox potential. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, with colleagues at Texas A&M University, have used a 3D conformal graphene... Read more →


Lithium-metal batteries are among the most promising candidates for high-density energy storage technology, but uncontrolled lithium dendrite growth, which results in poor recharging capability and safety hazards, currently is hindering their commercial potential. Now, researchers at Arizona State University, with colleagues at Rice University, have used a 3-dimensional layer of... Read more →


Researchers from Shinshu University in Japan have developed a method to suppress the growth of lithium dendrites in Li-S and Li-air batteries. As reported in a paper in the RSC journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, they used magnesium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)amide [Mg(TFSA)2] as an electrolyte additive to suppress the growth of Li... Read more →


Boeing HorizonX invests in lithium-metal rechargeable battery startup Cuberg

Boeing has invested in Berkeley, Calif.-based Cuberg, Inc., a startup founded by former Stanford University researchers developing next-generation battery technology for potential aerospace and industrial applications. Cuberg developed an advanced lithium metal rechargeable battery cell that is designed to be a drop-in solution to existing large-scale battery manufacturing processes. It... Read more →


Lithium metal—with its high theoretical capcity and low electrochemical potential—is an ideal anode for Li-ion batteries, and is the material of choice for advanced batteries such as Li-sulfur and Li-O2. However, dendritic growth on the anode leads to an unstable solid electrolyte interphase, volume fluctuation, and even shorting of the... Read more →


Researchers in China are proposing a new strategy to retard dendrite formation on Li metal anodes in high-capacity Li-ion batteries. In a paper published in the ACS journal Nano Letters, they describe trapping Li within hollow silica microspheres with a carbon nanotube core to suppress dendrite growth. Such an electrode... Read more →


U of Waterloo team develops low-cost approach to stabilize Li metal anodes

Researchers at the University of Waterloo (Canada) have developed a low-cost and scalable approach that tackles the stabilization of Li metal electrodes by forming a single-ion-conducting and stable protective surface layer in vivo. They use a rationally designed electrolyte additive complex that reacts with the Li surface to form the... Read more →


Researchers at Cornell led by Professor Lyndon Archer, in collaboration with Professor Ravishankar Sundararaman at Rensselaer Polytechnic, have demonstrated a new technique for enabling the use of high-capacity lithium metal anodes in rechargeable batteries. In a paper in the journal Angewandte Chemie the team shows that the indium (In) coatings... Read more →


alpha-En Corporation and Argonne partner on Li metal anodes for EV batteries; $750K award from DOE

alpha-En Corporation, a company that has developed a patent-pending process to produce high-purity thin-film lithium metal anodes and associated products sustainably, will receive an award of $750,000 from the US Department of Energy’s Office of Technology Transition Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF). This funding will be used to commercialize Argonne National... Read more →


Lithium-air (or lithium-oxygen) batteries potentially could offer three times the gravimetric energy of current Li-ion batteries (3500 Wh/kg at the cell level); as such, they are looked to a potential solution for long-range EVs. However, tests of various approaches to creating such batteries have produced conflicting and confusing results, as... Read more →


Rice University scientists have used a seamless graphene-carbon nanotube (GCNT) electrode to store lithium metal reversibly and with complete suppression of dendrite formation. The GCNT-Li capacity of 3351 mAh g-1GCNT-Li approaches that of bare Li metal (3861 mAh g-1Li)—indicating the low contributing mass of GCNT—while yielding a practical areal capacity... Read more →


Cornell team offers prospect for more stable Li-air battery with ionomer SEIs

Lithium-air (Li-O2) batteries are among the nost energy-dense electrochemical platforms for mobile energy storage, and are thus considered promising for electrified transportation. A number of severe challenges with the system need to be overcome first, however. These practical shortcomings include poor rechargeability, reduced efficiency due to high overpotentials (more charge... Read more →


PNNL team uncovers reaction mechanisms of Li-air batteries; how batteries blow bubbles

Lithium-air batteries are looked to by many as a very high-energy density next-generation energy storage solution for electric vehicles. However, the technology has several holdups, including losing energy as it stores and releases its charge.The reaction mechanisms are, in general, not well understood. One reaction that hasn’t been fully explained... Read more →


A team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside has developed an approach to addressing the vexing problem of dendrite formation that hobbles the use of high energy density lithium-metal anodes in advanced recyclable batteries. The new universal strategy, described in a paper in the ACS journal Chemistry of... Read more →


TU Graz researchers identify singlet oxygen as major cause of deleterious side reactions in Li-air batteries; suggested approach to counter

Researchers led by a team from Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) in Austria have shown that singlet oxygen (1O2) forms in the cathode of a Li–O2 battery during discharge and from the onset charge, and that it is responsible for a major fraction of side products that cause fast... Read more →


NSF to award $13M to projects focused on electrochemical and organic photovoltaic systems

The US National Science Foundation (NSF) will award more than $13 million to projects in the Energy for Sustainability program. The goal of the Energy for Sustainability program is to support fundamental engineering research that will enable innovative processes for the sustainable production of electricity and fuels, and for energy... Read more →


A team of researchers from S. Korea’s UNIST, with colleagues from Northwestern University, have successfully developed a new way to increase the activity of perovskite oxide catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and/or the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in rechargeable metal-air batteries and fuel cells simply by adding the... Read more →


Caltech, CMU researchers measure mechanical properties of Li at small scale; implications for Li metal anode development

Likely next-generation battery chemistries such as Li-sulfur or Li-air envision the use of a Li metal anode coupled with an advanced cathode. However, the use of lithium metal anodes in rechargeable batteries has been restricted due to dendrite growth that can cause short-circuits or explosions. Solid-state electrolytes appear to be... Read more →


A team at the University of Michigan (U-M) has used operando video microscopy to develop a comprehensive understanding of the voltage variations observed during Li metal cycling, which is directly correlated to dendrite growth. Specifically, they observed the evolution of the morphology of the Li electrode through operando high-resolution video... Read more →


Researchers at MIT have carried out the most detailed analysis yet of lithium dendrite formation from lithium anodes in batteries and have found that there are two entirely different mechanisms at work. While both forms of deposits are composed of lithium filaments, the way they grow depends on the applied... Read more →


An international team from MIT, Argonne National Laboratory and Peking University has demonstrated a lab-scale proof-of-concept of a new type of cathode for Li-air batteries that could overcome the current drawbacks to the technology, including a high potential gap (>1.2 V) between charge and discharge, and poor cyclability due to the... Read more →


Lithium-metal anodes are favored for use in next-generation rechargeable Li-air or Li-sulfur batteries due to a tenfold higher theoretical specific capacity than graphite (3,860 mAh/g vs. 372 mAh/g); light weight and lowest anode potential. However, safety issues resulting from dendrite formation and instability caused by volume expansion have hampered development... Read more →


Argonne-led team demonstrates Li-air battery based on lithium superoxide; up to 5x Li-ion energy density

Researchers from Argonne National Laboratory, with colleagues in the US and Korea, have demonstrated a lithium-oxygen battery based on lithium superoxide (LiO2). The work, reported in the journal Nature, could open the way to very high-energy-density batteries based on LiO2 as well as to other possible uses of the compound,... Read more →


Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a working laboratory demonstrator of a lithium-oxygen battery which has very high energy density, is more than 90% efficient, and, to date, can be recharged more than 2000 times, showing how several of the problems holding back the development of these devices... Read more →


Nankai University team in pursuit of a Li-CO2 battery

Researchers at Nankai University in China report their latest advance in developing a rechargeable Li-CO2 battery with the use of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with high electrical conductivity and porous three-dimensional networks as air cathodes for the rechargeable metal-CO2 batteries. A paper on the work is published in the RSC journal... Read more →


Researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a thermally conductive separator coated with boron-nitride (BN) nanosheets to improve the stability of Li metal anodes for us in high energy density Li-ion batteries. Hexagonal boron nitride (“white graphene”) is a 2D material that offers chemical stability, electrical insulation, and very... Read more →


Cycling performance of the hybrid Li− air batteries with (top) ordered Pd3Fe/C air electrode and (bottom) conventional Pt/C air electrode. Credit: ACS, Cui et al. Click to enlarge. A team from the University of Texas at Austin led by Professor John Goodenough has achieved significantly enhanced activity and durability for... Read more →


Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed a new electrolyte that allows lithium-sulfur, lithium-metal and lithium-air batteries to operate at 99% efficiency, while having a high current density and without growing dendrites that short-circuit rechargeable batteries. An open-access paper on their work is published in the journal Nature... Read more →


Schematic illustration of a Li-O2 cell employing a mesoporous catalytic polymer membrane. Credit: ACS, RYu et al. Click to enlarge. A team at Yale University has introduced a new Li-O2 cell architecture that uses a mesoporous catalytic polymer-based membrane between the oxygen electrode and the separator to achieve high reversibility... Read more →


Suppressing lithium (Li) dendrite growth is one of the most critical challenges for the development of Li-metal batteries—i.e., high-energy density batteries using a Li-metal anode such as Li-sulfur or Li-air. (Earlier post.) Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) report for the first time the growth of dendrite-free lithium films... Read more →


Researchers propose unified mechanism for reduction of O2 at cathode in Li-air batteries; guidance for direction of future research

Researchers from the UK and France are proposing a unified mechanism for the reduction of O2 at the cathode of a Li-air (Li-O2) battery. The results of their study, published in the journal Nature Chemistry, suggest that the future direction of research for lithium–oxygen batteries should focus on the search... Read more →


BMW researchers and colleagues in project ABILE develop optimized ionic-liquid-based electrolyte for efficient Li-air batteries

A multinational team including researchers from the BMW Group have optimized an ionic liquid electrolyte for Li-air batteries, which resulted in a stable electrode-electrolyte interface and a highly reversible charge-discharge cycling behavior in a test Li-air coin cell. The charge process (oxygen oxidation reaction) is characterized by a very low... Read more →


Proposed catalytic cycle for the electrochemical charging of Li-O2 cells with TEMPO. Credit: ACS, Bergner et al.Click to enlarge. One of the major challenges with the realization of commercial Li-air batteries and their promise of ultra-high energy densities is the reduction of the high charge overpotential. The high potential gap... Read more →