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Lithium Oxygen Batteries

November 6, 2015

A new lithium battery technology may lead to electric cars with the power and range of gas vehicles.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):Lithium batteries that pack a punch. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

It’s hard to design a battery that can store and release as much energy as a tank of gas can. The lithium ion batteries in today’s electric cars are heavy and too expensive to compete dollar for dollar. Now, in the journal Science, University of Cambridge chemist Claire Gray and her team describe a lithium oxygen battery technology that could pack much more energy into the same space.

CLAIRE GRAY (University of Cambridge):

We have the potential of achieving a technology that has five to ten times higher energy density based on weight, and if we could achieve that, that’s a significant achievement.

HIRSHON:

Lithium is extremely reactive, and there are still issues to be worked out to keep it from degrading. As a result, Gray says the powerful new batteries will likely be developed for smaller devices before being ready for use in cars. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.