While lithium-ion batteries provide the power for today's electric vehicles, researchers at Yale and MIT believe they have come up with a way to eliminate the most vexing problems associated with lithium-air technology.
The EV battery market, and the battery energy storage market in general, have long been characterized by companies and institutions working concurrently on a variety of technologies. Companies and technologies have come and gone. Promising but impractical ideas have been shelved. However, some of those technologies have been resurrected and given another chance.
The major challenges associated with lithium-air batteries have been that they were never efficient and they did not hold up well when subjected to repeated recharging.
What the Yale and MIT researchers did was restructure the battery and how it functions so it takes less energy for recharging, according to an article in MIT Technology Review.
The experimental battery the researchers produced is still far short of withstanding the approximately 1,000 recharging cycles expected of EV batteries, but the modifications have given it the capacity to handle 60 cycles -- about twice what the older lithium-air batteries could achieve.
The interest in lithium-air technology is, when compared by weight, that they "theoretically" could hold about 10 times more energy than lithium-ion EV batteries.
Lithium-air batteries will not be showing up in EVs anytime soon because, as the researchers acknowledge, a lot of work remains before they are ready for commercialization. But at least some of the problems have been solved.
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