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Lithium air Battery – Holy grail of EV technology

IBM’s lithium air battery could make electric vehicles (EV) as cheap as a typical family car. IBM is leading the research, together with four US technology giant laboratories and commercial partners, in creating a battery that will power an EV up to 800 kilometers (500 miles) in what a coalition dubbed as The Battery500 Project.

Despite the advances of the EV technology for the past years. Current EVs can travel only about 100 miles on a single charge, using the latest Lithium-oi (Li-on) battery technology today. This creates a major drawback to switching to a cleaner and cheaper energy source electric vehicle.

IBM claims to have solved the main problem with electric vehicles. With a new type of battery, known as Lithium air cell, that has a theoretical energy density of more than 1000 times to that of the current Li-ion battery. This is almost at par with gasoline and if you add that electricity is cheaper and produces zero CO2 emission. It is considered as the holy grail of electric vehicle technology.

But currently there is still a hitch, chemical instabilities reduces the battery lifespan when recharging. To address the issue, researchers has tapped the Blue Gene supercomputer in Zurich to analyze electro-chemical reactions to find alternative electrolytes that won’t degrade the battery while recharging. According to physicist Winfried Wilcke at IBM’s Almaden laboratories, they already have identified a material that is very promising. Several prototypes has been demonstrated and the project is hoping for a full-scale ├é┬áprototype by 2013 and commercial production around 2020.

sources: newscientist

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