NIMS and Softbank develop a revolutionary lithium-air battery with double energy capacity

Inspenet, February 21, 2023

Scientists at Japan’s National Institute of Materials Science (NIMS) and SoftBank Corp. developed a lithium-air battery with twice the energy capacity by weight of current lithium-ion models, adding new momentum to the race to commercialize a next-generation power source. Their goal is to put the battery to practical use in 5 to 10 years.

Lithium-air batteries use lithium for the negative electrode and oxygen in air for the positive electrode to create a chemical reaction that produces energy. The technology makes it possible to greatly reduce the size of batteries and make them lighter than conventional batteries with the same capacity.

The prototype battery’s weight energy density, which indicates performance, reached 500 Wh/kg, or about twice that of current lithium-ion batteries.

The research team reviewed more than 100 research articles from around the world to confirm that their lithium-air battery had the highest weight energy density.

However, the prototype battery reached its useful life when it was charged and discharged about 10 times. Each of the processes took 10 hours.

“We achieved world-class power density with the lithium-air battery,” said Shoichi Matsuda, a principal investigator at NIMS based in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture. “It marks a big step toward its practical use.”

However, he acknowledged that the team needs to improve the materials it uses.

The technology is considered the “ultimate secondary battery” as it offers the ability to store several times the capacity of lithium-ion batteries currently in use.

This development has drawn attention in global efforts to develop next-generation models alongside next-generation solid-state batteries and lithium-ion batteries for use in electric vehicles, drones, and other devices. The research was published in the scientific journal Materials Horizons at: .

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