New molecule to boost performance of Lithium-oxygen car batteries, find researchers

One of the factors for slow uptake of electric vehicles is related to concern among motorists about the distance that can be traveled between two charges. In order to address this, researchers at UTS are working on battery technology to help match the driving range of electric vehicles with petrol vehicles.

Researchers of clean energy at the University of Technology Sydney have designed a molecule to improve the performance of lithium-oxygen batteries to enable electric vehicles to have the same driving range as petrol fueled cars.

The prospective lithium-oxygen batteries employ cutting-edge technology with the aim to provide optimum energy density through breathing air to produce electricity.

However, till date, this has been afflicted by challenges including poor energy efficiency, low discharge capacity, and severe parasitic reactions. The new all-in-one molecule can simultaneously handle those challenges.

The discovery is exciting and has resolved several existing bottlenecks and have created the possibility of developing a long-life, energy-intense lithium-oxygen battery that is highly efficient, stated the lead researcher.

Fundamentally batteries are changing, stated the lead researcher. This will facilitate a transition towards a climate-neutral society and open up new industry opportunities for a country such as Australia that has abundance of basic elements for constructing batteries.

This will also help utilities improve power quality and reliability and help governments around the world attain net zero carbon emissions.

The study conducted by the team provides the details of Li-O2 battery operated via a new mediating mechanism that depends on direct chemical reactions between a versatile molecule and superoxide Li2O2. The battery operated via the new mediating mechanism exhibits increase in discharge capacity by 46 times, a low charge overpotential of 0.7 V and an extended life above 1400 cycles.