A University of Texas at Dallas researcher has made a discovery that could open the door to mobile devices and electric cars. that last five times longer than current ones. Dr. Kyeongjae Cho, professor of materials science and engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, has discovered new catalyst materials for lithium-air batteries that jump start efforts at expanding battery capacity.
Lithium-air (or lithium-oxygen) batteries "breathe" oxygen from the air to power the chemical reactions that release electricity, rather than storing an oxidizer internally like lithium-ion batteries do. Because of this, lithium-air batteries boast an energy density comparable to gasoline -- with theoretical energy densities as much as 10 times that of current lithium-ion batteries, giving them tremendous potential for storage of renewable energy, particularly in applications such as mobile devices and electric cars.
Practical attempts to expand lithium-air battery capacity so far have not yielded great results, it could take five to 10 years before the research translates into new batteries that can be used in mobile devices and electric cars, Cho said,