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Lithium-Air Batteries: Technology Trends and Commercialization Prospects
  • Publishing Date : 2013-01-09
  • Published cycle : Special
  • Page :  142p
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Electric vehicles are facing numerous technological challenges to replace gasoline internal combustion engine-powered cars.  One of the biggest problems is low energy density of currently available li-ion batteries, which allows a short driving range of 150 km/charge. To boost full-scale development of the EV market, replacing current internal combustion engine cars, it is necessary to develop EVs with a similar single charge range of more than 500km with internal combustion engine cars. 


According to NEDO (Japan), the energy density limit of li-ion secondary batteries is expected to be up to 250 Wh/kg.  To develop EVs with the 500km range, which is considered as a prerequisite for growth of the EV market, it is required to develop a new type of battery that has energy density of 700 Wh/kg or more.  Among several candidate technologies, metal-air batteries such as lithium-air and zinc-air batteries are considered as the most promising.


The biggest advantage of metal-air batteries is very high theoretical energy density in spite of using oxygen as Natures inexhaustible source as well as eco-friendly characteristics.  Comparing various metal-air batteries based on electric charge/discharge and other electro-chemical characteristics, lithium-air and zinc-air batteries are recognized as the most likely candidates for next-generation secondary batteries for EV applications.  Especially, lithium-air batteries show a similar level of energy density (11,140 Wh/kg) with gasoline (13,000 Wh/kg), and this is also the highest level among metal-air batteries. These potentialities have directed many researchers to focus on lithium-air batteries rather than zinc-air batteries since the mid-2000s.


[Table]  Energy density of metal-air batteries



(Source: Excellatron Solid State LLC)


[Figure] Charge/discharge mechanism at anode-electrolyte and cathode-electrolyte interfaces of li-ion air battery



(Source : G. Girishkumar et al., J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 1 (2010) 2193)


Although it is forecasted that lithium-air batteries are far away from commercialization due to many issues to be overcome, it is a very challenging field requiring knowledge and expertise of researchers in a variety of areas. Currently many global leaders such as IBM, Toyota, and Samsung are continuously entering the R&D race with increasing investment, and these aggressive R&D activities based on technological achievements in the fields of li-ion and fuel batteries are expected to contribute to solving the technological challenge earlier, and accelerating commercialization. 


This report examines the most noteworthy post-LiB technology, namely lithium-air batteries, in terms of technological issues, elemental technologies, technology development trends, and patent trends. 


The strong point of this report is the up-to-date technology development trend in the field of lithium-air batteries including:
-Analysis of development projects and roadmaps for next-generation secondary battery technologies in each country
-technological issues and elemental technologies of lithium-air batteries
-Patent trends of metal-air and lithium-air batteries
-Analysis of development status of various lithium-air battery companies and research institutes in different countries 
-Prospect of future applications and commercialization of lithium-air batteries.   


- Contents -

1. Next-generation secondary batteries technology development status
1.1. Overview of next generation battery technologies 
1.2. Development trend of next generation battery technologies 
1.3. Next-generation high energy density battery development roadmap by country

2. Introduction of lithium-air batteries

2.1. Basic principle of lithium-air batteries
2.2. Technical features of lithium-air batteries
2.3. Key elemental technologies of lithium-air batteries

3. Elemental technologies of lithium-air batteries
3.1. Electrode
3.2. Electrolyte
3.3 Separator and current collector 

4. Metal-air battery patent trend 

4.1. Metal-air battery technology patent analysis
4.2. Lithium-air battery technology patent trend
4.3. Patetn trend of major applicants

5. Technology development and business trend of major research institutes and companies

5.1. USA
5.2. Europe
5.3. Japan
5.4. Korea
5.5. etc. 

6. Forecast of lithium air battery applications and commercialization
6.1. Applications of lithium air batteries
6.2. Forecast of commercialization of lithium air batteries

7. Index
7.1. Figure
8.2. Table


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