According to media reports, IBM continues to make progress on what it describes as a breakthrough lithium-air battery that may be able to store 1,000 times more energy than today’s lithium ion battery. The huge jump in energy density could raise your electric vehicle’s range from 100 miles to 500 miles.
Lithium-air batteries don’t use metal to conduct a charge. Instead, the energy flow is created from the air reacting with lithium ions and a carbon matrix. So while you drive, the battery literally breathes in air to produce more energy, which extends the range of a single charge. This research on lithium-air batteries has been ongoing since 2009 when IBM first started the Battery 500 project.
To make lithium air batteries more stable, researchers tapped the Blue Gene supercomputer in Zurich to analyze electro-chemical reactions to find alternative electrolytes that won’t degrade the battery while recharging, and have identified material that is promising.
With several concepts under their belt, IBM expects to reveal a working prototype of the lithium air battery in 2013. If all goes according to plan, IBM expects full commercial production of their technology in 2020.