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Researchers make significant advances in ‘ultimate’ battery technology

The researchers 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 2,000 times.

The technology is dubbed the ‘ultimate’ battery due to its theoretical energy density, which is 10 times that of a lithium-ion battery and would enable an electric car with a battery that is a fifth the cost and a fifth the weight of those currently on the market to drive from London to Edinburgh on a single charge.

The latest demonstrator has higher capacity, increased energy efficiency and improved stability over previous attempts but the researchers caution that a practical lithium-air battery still remains at least a decade away.

“What we’ve achieved is a significant advance for this technology and suggests whole new areas for research – we haven’t solved all the problems inherent to this chemistry, but our results do show routes forward towards a practical device,” said Professor Clare Grey of Cambridge’s Department of Chemistry.

“While there are still plenty of fundamental studies that remain to be done, to iron out some of the mechanistic details, the current results are extremely exciting – we are still very much at the development stage, but we’ve shown that there are solutions to some of the tough problems associated with this technology,” added Grey.

Natalie Middleton

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