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Issue 5, 2014
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Quantifying the promise of lithium–air batteries for electric vehicles

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Researchers worldwide view the high theoretical specific energy of the lithium–air or lithium–oxygen battery as a promising path to a transformational energy-storage system for electric vehicles. Here, we present a self-consistent material-to-system analysis of the best-case mass, volume, and cost values for the nonaqueous lithium–oxygen battery and compare them with current and advanced lithium-based batteries using metal-oxide positive electrodes. Surprisingly, despite their high theoretical specific energy, lithium–oxygen systems were projected to achieve parity with other candidate chemistries as a result of the requirement to deliver and purify or to enclose the gaseous oxygen reactant. The theoretical specific energy, which leads to predictions of an order of magnitude improvement over a traditional lithium-ion battery, is shown to be an inadequate predictor of systems-level cost, volume, and mass. This analysis reveals the importance of system-level considerations and identifies the reversible lithium-metal negative electrode as a common, critical high-risk technology needed for batteries to reach long-term automotive objectives. Additionally, advanced lithium-ion technology was found to be a moderate risk pathway to achieve the majority of volume and cost reductions.

Graphical abstract: Quantifying the promise of lithium–air batteries for electric vehicles

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Article information

27 Nov 2013
13 Mar 2014
First published
24 Mar 2014

Energy Environ. Sci., 2014,7, 1555-1563
Article type

Quantifying the promise of lithium–air batteries for electric vehicles

K. G. Gallagher, S. Goebel, T. Greszler, M. Mathias, W. Oelerich, D. Eroglu and V. Srinivasan, Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, 7, 1555
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43870H

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