Lithium-air batteries, which currently are still in the experimental stages of development, can store 10 times more energy than lithium-ion batteries, and they are much lighter. That said, lithium-air batteries could be even more efficient and provide more charge with the incorporation of advanced catalysts made from two-dimensional materials. Catalysts help increase the rate of chemical reactions inside batteries, and depending on the type of material from which the catalyst is made, they can help significantly boost the ability of the battery to hold and provide energy.

“We are going to need very high-energy density batteries to power new advanced technologies that are incorporated into phones, laptops and especially electric vehicles,” said Amin Salehi-Khojin, associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering in UIC’s College of Engineering. Salehi-Khojin and his colleagues synthesized several 2D materials that can serve as catalysts. A number of their 2D materials, when incorporated into experimental lithium-air batteries as the catalyst, enabled the battery to hold up to 10 times more energy than lithium-air batteries containing traditional catalysts. Their findings are published in the journal Advanced Materials.

“Currently, electric vehicles average about 100 miles per charge, but with the incorporation of 2D catalysts into lithium-air batteries, we could provide closer to 400 to 500 miles per charge, which would be a real game-changer,” said Salehi-Khojin, who is also the corresponding author of the paper. “This would be a huge breakthrough in energy storage.”

Read more at University of Illinois at Chicago