Researchers in Korea have developed a spinel NiCo2O4 material with a sea-urchin-like structure as an effective electrocatalyst for rechargeable non-aqueous Li-O2 batteries. A Li-O2 battery containing the catalyst exhibited a high specific capacity of about 7,309 mAh g−1 at 0.2 mA cm−2. A paper on their work is published in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.
The electrochemical performance of lithium-oxygen batteries can be significantly improved by using a catalyst to enhance the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER), they note.
… the urchin-like structure of the catalyst not only provides more electrocatalytic sites but also promotes mass transport in the electrolyte. In addition, mesoporous NiCo2O4 can efficiently catalyze the formation and decomposition of Li2O2.
… The integrity and porosity of spinel NiCo2O4 had a significant effect on the performance of the Li-O2 battery with reasonable specific capacity and cyclability, suggesting that the NiCo2O4-based materials can be effective catalysts for oxygen electrode in high performance Li-O2 batteries.—Jadhav et al.
Harsharaj S. Jadhav, Ramchandra S. Kalubarme, Jang-Woong Roh, Kyu-Nam Jung, Kyoung-Hee Shin, Choong-Nyeon Park and Chan-Jin Park (2014) “Facile and Cost Effective Synthesized Mesoporous Spinel NiCo2O4 as Catalyst for Non-Aqueous Lithium-Oxygen Batteries,” J. Electrochem. Soc. volume 161, issue 14, A2188-A2196 doi: 10.1149/2.0771414jes