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Lithium-air Battery Technology Trends and Commercialization Prospect
  • Publishing Date : 2017-04-12
  • Published cycle : Special
  • Page :  196p

<2017>Lithium-air Battery Technology Trends and Commercialization Prospects


Lithium-ion battery (LiB), largely small-sized batteries for IT applications, has been leading the secondary battery market thanks to the highest energy density among commercialized secondary batteries. However, the energy density of LiBs has already reached the theoretical limit and the energy density and stability of LiBs are insufficient to dominate the mid- and large-sized secondary battery markets. To address this issue, next-generation or post-LiB battery technologies that can dramatically surpass the limitations of LiBs are emerging one after another, and some of previously ignored technologies have been brought back for revision and further development. The most promising post-LiB candidate technologies are lithium-sulfur, lithium-air and all-solid-state batteries.


According to the Japanese New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), the theoretical energy density limit of LiBs is calculated to be 250 Wh/kg, while the energy density of the battery for full deployment of electric vehicles is projected to be 700 Wh/kg or higher. A new type of secondary batteries such as lithium-air and zinc-air batteries based on metal-air battery technology is known to have a potential to realize this high energy density.


The most prominent benefits of metal-air batteries are the high theoretical energy density and eco-friendly properties, compared to other secondary batteries, as well as unlimited supply of the active material, oxygen from the nature.  Considering energy density, charge-discharge performance and other electrochemical properties, lithium-air and zinc-air batteries stand out as the most promising next-generation secondary batteries for electric vehicles among various metal-air batteries. In particular, lithium-air batteries have the theoretical energy density of 11,140 Wh/kg, equivalent to that of gasoline (13,000 Wh/kg), marking the highest energy density of all metal-air batteries. Due to this advantage, lithium-air batteries have attracted more attention than zinc-air batteries since the mid-2000s.


Although there are many challenges to overcome and a long developmental process is projected before a successful commercialization, lithium-air battery technology presents substantial technological potentials, asking for multidisciplinary knowledge and expertise across various fields. Recently, a number of global corporates such as IBM, Toyota and Samsung Electronics have joined the race and committed investment for the technology development for lithium-air batteries. If these new efforts can be synergistically combined with the current LiB and fuel cell technologies, leading to aggressive research and developments, the challenges could be cleared out in a much faster pace than projected and we might witness the first commercial lithium-air battery product in the near future.


This report describes the technological elements of lithium-air battery that is one of the most preferred next-generation battery technology for commercialization and associated issues. Finally, technology development trends were presented with recent patent analysis.


The strong points of this report are as follows:

1.     Current status of technology development for next-generation secondary batteries and development roadmaps of major countries

2.     Core technology elements of lithium-air batteries and technological issues to be addressed

3.     Patent landscape in the fields of metal-air and lithium-air battery technologies

4.     Current lithium-air battery development status of various research institutes and corporates in major countries

5.     Prospects for potential applications and commercialization of lithium-air batteries



Regarding these aspects, recent trends (~2016) in technology development of lithium-air batteries are provided in detail.




1. Current status of technology development for next-generation secondary batteries

1.1. Overview of next-generation secondary battery technology

1.2. Technology development trends for next-generation secondary batteries

1.2.1. Lithium-sulfur batteries

1.2.2. Metal-air batteries

1.2.3. All-solid-state batteries

1.2.4. Mg-ion batteries

1.2.5. Na-ion batteries

1.3. Development roadmaps for next-generation high energy density batteries-by country

1.3.1. US

1.3.2. Japan

1.3.3. Europe

1.3.4. Korea


2. Understanding of lithium-air batteries

2.1. Working principles of lithium-air batteries

2.2. Technological characteristics of lithium-air batteries

2.3. Core technology elements of lithium-air batteries


3. Technology elements of lithium-air batteries

3.1. Electrodes

3.1.1. Anodes

3.1.2. Air electrodes

3.2. Electrolytes

3.2.1 Non-aqueous electrolytes

3.2.2 Aqueous and non-aqueous mixed electrolytes

3.2.3 Inorganic solid-state electrolytes

3.2.4 Polymer electrolytes 89

3.3 Separators and current collectors

3.3.1 Separators

3.3.2 Current collectors


4. Metal-air battery patent application trends

4.1. Metal-air battery patent analysis

4.1.1 Patent application trends by year

4.1.2 Domestic and foreign patent filing status - by major market (country)

4.1.3 Technology market powers - by applicants nationality

4.1.4 Technology shares - by application period

4.2. Lithium-air battery technology patent trends

4.2.1 Technology shares - by specific technology

4.2.2 Technology distributions of major patent applicants

4.2.3 Technology focus distributions of major countries

4.2.4 Developmental potentials - by specific technology

4.3. Patent trends - by major applicants

4.3.1 Patent trends - overall

4.3.2 Ten major patent applicants - by application period

4.3.3 Major patent applicants - by specific technology

4.3.4 Lithium-air battery technology patent trends - by major applicants


5. Development and business trends of major research institutes and corporates

5.1. US

5.1.1. IBM

5.1.2. Polyplus Battery Company

5.1.3. US Army Research Lab

5.1.4. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

5.1.5. Argonne National Laboratory (ANL)

5.1.6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

5.1.7. University of Dayton Research Institute

5.1.8. University of Texas at Austin

5.2. Europe

5.2.1. University of Oxford (University of St. Andrews ~2014)

5.2.2. University of Rome La Sapienza

5.2.3. Newcastle University

5.3. Japan

5.3.1. AIST

5.3.2. Toyota

5.3.3. Mie University

5.3.4. Kyushu University

5.4. Korea

5.4.1. Samsung Electronics (Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology)

5.4.2. Korea Institute of Energy Research

5.5. Etc.

5.5.1. University of Waterloo

5.5.2. Fudan University


6. Applications of lithium-air batteries and commercialization prospects

6.1. Applications of lithium-air batteries

6.2. Prospects for commercialization of lithium-air batteries

7. Index

7.1. Figure

7.2. Table


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