Developing Batteries That Run On Air

What: IBM researchers are developing a commercially viable lithium-air battery with electric cars in mind.

Why: Current battery technology simply doesn’t provide enough power to make electric vehicles viable.  A lithium-air battery could provide enough energy to travel 500 miles on one charge.

How: The battery would use lithium, an energy-dense, highly flammable metal, to react with the readily available oxygen in the air. Because they use air that’s pulled into the battery as needed, rather than store a second reactant inside the cell, lithium-air batteries could have an energy density of more than 5,000 watt-hours per kilogram (Wh/kg). That’s ten times the energy available from the top lithium-ion batteries today.

Reality-check: If, like me, you’re thinking that there are a host of things to worry about before making batteries better, the Smarter Planet article actually discusses a lot of them and gives a realistic view on the path to electric cars.

See the full Smarter Planet article here.

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