Engineering considerations for practical lithium–air electrolytes †

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Lithium–air batteries promise exceptional energy density while avoiding the use of transition metals in their cathodes, however, their practical adoption is currently held back by their short lifetimes. These short lifetimes are largely caused by electrolyte breakdown, but despite extensive searching, an electrolyte resistant to breakdown has yet to be found. This paper considers the requirements placed on an electrolyte for it to be considered usable in a practical cell. We go on to examine ways, through judicious cell design, of relaxing these requirements to allow for a broader range of compounds to be considered. We conclude by suggesting types of molecules that could be explored for future cells. With this work, we aim to broaden the scope of future searches for electrolytes and inform new cell design.


Acknowledgements: JE and CPG acknowledge support from a Royal Society Research Professorship for CPG (grant no. RP\R1\180147). JE and CPG also acknowledge support from an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant for CPG (grant no. EC H2020 ERC 835073).

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Faraday Discussions
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The Royal Society of Chemistry
European Research Council (EC H2020 ERC 835073)
Royal Society (RP\R1\180147)