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Breathing batteries could store 10 times the energy
New Scientist ^ | 19 May 2009 | Colin Barras

Posted on 05/20/2009 1:20:09 PM PDT by Wonder Warthog

The lithium ion batteries used in laptops and cellphones, and tipped for future use in electric cars, are approaching their technological limits. But chemists in the UK say that there's a way to break through the looming energy capacity barrier – let the batteries "breathe" oxygen from the air.

A standard lithium ion battery contains a negative electrode of graphite, a positive electrode of lithium cobalt oxide, and a lithium salt-containing electrolyte. Lithium ions shuttle between the two electrodes during charging and discharging, sending electrons around the external circuit to power a gadget in the process.

The problem with that design, says Peter Bruce at the University of St Andrews, is that the lithium cobalt oxide is bulky and heavy. "The major barrier to increasing the energy density of these batteries is the positive electrode," he says. "Everyone wants to find a way to push up the amount of lithium stored there, which would raise the capacity." Breath of fresh air

The answer, he thinks, is to borrow an idea from the zinc-air batteries used in hearing aids, which get their power reacting zinc with oxygen from air. So, working with colleagues at the Universities of Strathclyde and Newcastle, Bruce has begun designing a lithium-air battery.

The new battery has a higher energy density than existing lithium ion batteries because it no longer contains dense lithium cobalt oxide. Instead, the positive electrode is made from lightweight porous carbon, and the lithium ions are packed into the electrolyte which floods into the spongy material.

(Excerpt) Read more at newscientist.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: batteries; energy; storage

1 posted on 05/20/2009 1:20:10 PM PDT by Wonder Warthog
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To: Wonder Warthog

See also:

http://polyplus.com/technology/laircell.htm


2 posted on 05/20/2009 1:20:50 PM PDT by Wonder Warthog ( The Hog of Steel)
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To: Wonder Warthog

But for now, my laptop batteries are just “Waiting to Exhale”...


3 posted on 05/20/2009 1:22:03 PM PDT by Hegemony Cricket (The emperor has no pedigree.)
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To: Hegemony Cricket

...or explode.


4 posted on 05/20/2009 1:22:41 PM PDT by GOP_Party_Animal
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To: GOP_Party_Animal

LOL! Well done!


5 posted on 05/20/2009 1:24:27 PM PDT by Miykayl
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To: GOP_Party_Animal; Hegemony Cricket
Interesting. Your car would get heavier as you drive it.

One positive not mentioned in the article is that if you wake up with a hangover you can go out to your garage where your car has been charging and breath an oxygen enriched atmosphere to cure your hangover.

6 posted on 05/20/2009 1:34:35 PM PDT by Pontiac (Your message here.)
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To: Wonder Warthog

If only the batteries could breathe carbon dioxide!


7 posted on 05/20/2009 1:52:05 PM PDT by GunsareOK
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To: Wonder Warthog

So what will they exhale? Lithium hydroxide?


8 posted on 05/20/2009 1:53:28 PM PDT by GingisK
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To: GingisK
So what will they exhale? Lithium hydroxide?

Probably atmospheric CO2 would poison the lithium salt by converting it to the carbonate.

9 posted on 05/20/2009 2:00:35 PM PDT by Gorzaloon (Roark, Architect.)
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To: Gorzaloon
Probably atmospheric CO2 would poison the lithium salt by converting it to the carbonate.

Oh yeah! That is the order of the valences here, isn't it?

10 posted on 05/20/2009 2:02:11 PM PDT by GingisK
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To: Wonder Warthog

With everything becoming nationalized there will be no motivation for research in the US anymore.


11 posted on 05/20/2009 2:09:35 PM PDT by George from New England (escaped CT 2006; now living north of Tampa Bay)
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To: George from New England
"With everything becoming nationalized there will be no motivation for research in the US anymore."

I'm afraid you're probably right. But we can always hope for the second American Revolution.

12 posted on 05/20/2009 3:15:24 PM PDT by Wonder Warthog ( The Hog of Steel)
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To: Gorzaloon
"Probably atmospheric CO2 would poison the lithium salt by converting it to the carbonate."

I think that would depend on the pH of their electrolyte.

13 posted on 05/20/2009 3:17:54 PM PDT by Wonder Warthog ( The Hog of Steel)
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To: Wonder Warthog

Let’s move the word breathing to batteries and take the breathing function AWAY from the politicians at all levels.


14 posted on 05/20/2009 4:45:35 PM PDT by George from New England (escaped CT 2006; now living north of Tampa Bay)
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