NEES Teleseminars

Event Information

NEES Teleseminar: Kevin Gallagher
Thursday, April 17, 2014
4:00 p.m.
For More Information:
Elizabeth Lathrop
301 405 7801

Quantifying the Promise of Li-Air Batteries for Electric Vehicles by Kevin Gallagher, Argonne NL & Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR)


Researchers worldwide view the high theoretical specific energy of the lithium–air or lithium–oxygen battery as a promising path to a transformational energy-storage system for electric vehicles. Here, we present a self-consistent material-to-system analysis of the best-case mass, volume, and cost values for the nonaqueous lithium–oxygen battery and compare them with current and advanced lithium-based batteries using metal-oxide positive electrodes. Surprisingly, despite their high theoretical specific energy, lithium–oxygen systems were projected to achieve parity with other candidate chemistries as a result of the requirement to deliver and purify or to enclose the gaseous oxygen reactant. The theoretical specific energy, which leads to predictions of an order of magnitude improvement over a traditional lithium-ion battery, is shown to be an inadequate predictor of systems-level cost, volume, and mass. This analysis reveals the importance of system-level considerations and identifies the reversible lithium-metal negative electrode as a common, critical high-risk technology needed for batteries to reach long-term automotive objectives. Additionally, advanced lithium-ion technology was found to be a moderate risk pathway to achieve the majority of volume and cost reductions.

Broader context


The commercialization of battery electric vehicles has provided a glimpse of one potential future paradigm of the transportation sector. Moving to an electricitybased transportation system could enable a domestically produced, potentially near-zero emission energy source if coupled to clean, domestic sources of electricity production. However, the batteries used in electric vehicles in 2013 are too expensive, large, and heavy for mass market adoption; signicant progress is needed. The lithiumair or lithiumoxygen battery is a high visibility archetype for the best-casepossible electrochemical energy-storage system for electric vehicles. We present a material-to-systems analysis of the lithiumoxygen chemistry with comparison to current and future lithium-based chemistries to identify scientific challenges and technological possibilities. Through translation of materials-level science to the systems-level engineering, we show that a lithium– oxygen battery system for automotive applications has comparable cost, volume, and mass to other advanced chemistries that are in more mature states of development and have less technical risk. This result demonstrates that system-level analysis is necessary and may contradict trends predicted from active materials based specic energy and energy density calculations that are the basis for many research investment decisions.

Reference: K.G. Gallagher, S. Goebel, T. Greszler, M. Mathias, W. Oelerich, D. Eroglu & V. Srinivasan, Energy & Environmental Science, 2014, DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43870H

This Event is For: Graduate • Faculty • Post-Docs

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