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Lithium-air batteries to power electrical vehicles

  • New technological headway in the development of lithium-air batteries could make lithium-ion technology, currently used in electric vehicles redundant, indicates research. As per details presented in 24/th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), US the new, light-weight, lithium-air batteries, have the potential to deliver a large amount of electric energy. In a lithium-air battery, the traditional cathode which is involved in the flow of electric current is replaced by air making it lighter, with the potential to pack in more energy, compared to its lithium-ion counterpart. However, researchers need to work on certain kinks present, before these batteries become commercially viable. A key area that is being researched is the batteries' electrolytes, which conduct electricity between the electrodes. With four electrolyte designs being explored, the most anticipated is terms of output is water, which will supposedly shield the lithium, preventing it from interacting with gases in the atmosphere, thus fast tracking reactions at the air electrode. But, there are issues that still need to be addressed. Fundamentally, water coming in direct contact with lithium can damage it. The potential of the lithium-air battery is immense, with the ability to discharge and recharge 100 times coupled with the high conductivity of lithium ions. These batteries, could be modified to be used for domestic purposes apart from electric vehicles, though researches concede that aspects such as power output will throw up its own challenges.

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