A team from the University of Cambridge claims to have solved some of the biggest technical problems besetting the emerging lithium-oxygen battery of the future, with scientists building a stable next-gen battery with ten times the energy density of today's power cells.
Modern-day miracle thing graphene is partly responsible too, with the team's battery engineering concept using a "highly porous form" of the carbon structure to form the electrode, introducing lithium iodide to do other clever chemical things that are probably best read at the source than poorly and almost certainly incorrectly reinterpreted here.
The paper itself goes very hard on the science of what happens inside batteries, including plenty of gems like these:
"The rechargeable aprotic lithium-air (Li-O2) battery is a promising potential technology for next-generation energy storage, but its practical realization still faces many challenges. In contrast to the standard Li-O2cells, which cycle via the formation of Li2O2, we used a reduced graphene oxide electrode, the additive LiI, and the solvent dimethoxyethane to reversibly form and remove crystalline LiOH with particle sizes larger than 15 micrometers during discharge and charge. This leads to high specific capacities, excellent energy efficiency (93.2%) with a voltage gap of only 0.2 volt, and impressive rechargeability."
Put a star on your chart if you get all of that. Professor Clare Grey from Cambridge's Department of Chemistry said, in a more down to earth fashion, that: "What we’ve achieved is a significant advance for this technology and suggests whole new areas for research -- we haven’t solved all the problems inherent to this chemistry, but our results do show routes forward towards a practical device." [University of Cambridge cia City AM]