Liverpool Uni Researchers Develop Stable Electrolyte for Li-O2 Batteries

Liverpool Uni Researchers Develop Stable Electrolyte for Li-O2 Batteries

Researchers at the University of Liverpool, in partnership with Johnson Matthey PLC and Loughborough University, are working on developing stable and practical electrolytes for lithium-oxygen (Li-O2) batteries (or lithium-air battery). They have advanced new theories on the subject, whose execution can create greater energy storage capacity than that offered by the conventional lithium-ion battery.

In a new paper entitled ‘Design Parameters for Ionic Liquid–Molecular Solvent Blend Electrolytes to Enable Stable Li Metal Cycling Within Li–O2 Batteries’ published this month in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, the scientists characterise and develop electrolyte formulations that significantly minimise side reactions within the battery to enable improved longer cycle stability. According to the lead author of the paper, Dr Alex Neale, the research demonstrates that the reactivity of certain electrolyte components can be switched off by precise control of component ratios. He believes says that the ability to precisely formulate the electrolyte using readily-available, low volatility components enabled him and his colleagues to specially tailor an electrolyte for the needs of metal-air battery technology that delivered greatly improved cycle stability and functionality. “The outcomes from our study really show that by understanding the precise coordination environment of the lithium ion within our electrolytes, we can link this directly to achieving significant gains in electrolyte stability at the Li metal electrode interface and, consequently, enhancements in actual cell performance,” he said.

Dr Pooja Goddard from Loughborough University’s Department of Chemistry added, “It was exciting to see through the use of both calculations and experimental data we were able to identify the key physical parameters that enabled the formulations to become stable against the lithium metal electrode interface.”

The partnership between the two University research groups in Liverpool and Loughborough and Johnson Matthey PLC was supported by an Innovate UK Grant. The latter enables industry and academia to work together to manage research challenges in technology. Besides Neale and Goddard, the authors of the paper include Ryan Sharpe, Stephen R. Yeandel, Chih‐Han Yen, Konstantin V. Luzyanin, Enrico A. Petrucco, and Laurence J. Hardwick.

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Soumya Duggal

Soumya is a master's degree holder in English, with a passion for writing. It's an interest she has directed towards environmental writing recently, with a special emphasis on the progress being made in renewable energy.