Let us continue to use the lithium metal as the anode but find a cathode that is virtually weightless and abundant. Let's talk about oxygen—yes, the same oxygen we breathe.
The Lithium Air Battery
There is a lot of it in the world, it’s free, it’s not bad for you (far from!) and to top it all off, it can be made into a battery.
And what a battery one can make! The theoretical energy density of this battery—referred to as the non-aqueous lithium-oxygen (/-air) battery or the Li-air batter—is comparable to gasoline.
Three observations to keep in mind:
- Breakthroughs cannot be scheduled.
- What is great in theory may not be good in practice.
- The time it takes to make a commercial battery from a lab-scale concept is in the order of years to decades and it takes longer the more breakthroughs that are needed.
Not only do we need breakthroughs, but also need to consider how we'll make a high-speed, low-cost battery without getting too much extra weight and volume into other components. Many of the processes we use today will need to be re-engineered and new ones will need to be incorporated.