Air-fueled battery could last up to 10 times longer

By | May 19, 2009

Air-fueled battery could last up to 10 times longer

A new type of air-fuelled battery could give up to ten times the energy storage of designs currently available.

This step-change in capacity could pave the way for a new generation of electric cars, mobile phones and laptops.

The research work, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), is being led by researchers at the University of St Andrews with partners at Strathclyde and Newcastle.

The new design has the potential to improve the performance of portable electronic products and give a major boost to the renewable energy industry. The batteries will enable a constant electrical output from sources such as wind or solar, which stop generating when the weather changes or night falls.

Improved capacity is thanks to the addition of a component that uses oxygen drawn from the air during discharge, replacing one chemical constituent used in rechargeable batteries today. Not having to carry the chemicals around in the battery offers more energy for the same size battery. Reducing the size and weight of batteries with the necessary charge capacity has been a long-running battle for developers of electric cars.

The STAIR (St Andrews Air) cell should be cheaper than today’s rechargeables too. The new component is made of porous carbon, which is far less expensive than the lithium cobalt oxide it replaces.

This four-year research project, which reaches its halfway mark in July, builds on the discovery at the university that the carbon component’s interaction with air can be repeated, creating a cycle of charge and discharge. Subsequent work has more than tripled the capacity to store charge in the STAIR cell.

Principal investigator on the project, Professor Peter Bruce of the Chemistry Department at the University of St Andrews, says: “Our target is to get a five to ten fold increase in storage capacity, which is beyond the horizon of current lithium batteries. Our results so far are very encouraging and have far exceeded our expectations.”

“The key is to use oxygen in the air as a re-agent, rather than carry the necessary chemicals around inside the battery,” says Bruce.

via Air-fueled battery could last up to 10 times longer.

One thought on “Air-fueled battery could last up to 10 times longer

  1. shane

    I can see this technology becoming a major force in the new and used car business. I also think after market products for air fueled batteries is going to be big as well.

Leave a Reply