Engineers at the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) have developed a solid-state, rechargeable lithium-air battery. When fully developed, the battery could exceed specific energies of 1,000 Wh/kg in practical applications.
We have successfully fabricated and tested the first totally solid-state lithium-air battery, which represents a major advancement in the quest for a commercially viable, safe rechargeable battery with high energy and power densities and long cycle life.
In addition to increasing the battery’s energy density, the development is designed to mitigate the volatile nature of traditional lithium rechargeables, such as those used in cell phones and laptops, which can overheat and catch fire or rupture.
This paper describes a totally solid-state, rechargeable, long cycle life lithium–oxygen battery cell. The cell is comprised of a Li metal anode, a highly Li-ion conductive solid electrolyte membrane laminate fabricated from glass–ceramic (GC) and polymer–ceramic materials, and a solid-state composite air cathode prepared from high surface area carbon and ionically conducting GC powder. The cell exhibited excellent thermal stability and rechargeability in the 30–105°C temperature range. It was subjected to 40 charge–discharge cycles at current densities ranging from 0.05 to 0.25 mA/cm2. The reversible charge/discharge voltage profiles of the Li–O2 cell with low polarizations between the discharge and charge are remarkable for a displacement-type electrochemical cell reaction involving the reduction of oxygen to form lithium peroxide. The results represent a major contribution in the quest of an ultrahigh energy density electrochemical power source. We believe that the Li–O2 cell, when fully developed, could exceed specific energies of 1000 Wh/kg in practical configurations.