Pyrograf Stacked-Cup Carbon Nanotubes Suited to Use as Catalyst Supports for Lithium-Air Batteries

Published on July 5, 2011 at 7:08 PM

Researchers from Applied Sciences Inc., a world leader in advanced materials have demonstrated the ability of Pyrograf III stacked-cup carbon nanotubes to serve as catalyst supports for the air electrode of lithium-air batteries. Preliminary data shows that carbon nanotubes coated with metal oxides are providing reversible behavior for air electrodes to enable the production of secondary lithium-air batteries.

Applied Sciences is exploring this technology under an Army phase I SBIR program aimed at developing the next generation of high energy density rechargeable batteries for use in defense systems.

Project Description

Many defense systems such as silent watch, soldier power, unmanned vehicles, communications equipment, and directed energy weapons require portable power which limits the duration and capability of missions relying upon these systems. The Department of Defense is therefore seeking energy storage devices with higher energy densities to extend mission duration and capability. Of all battery technologies currently available, batteries which rely upon lithium-air chemistry have the highest energy density. However, lithium-air battery performance is limited by issues with the metallic lithium anode and poor performance of the cathode.

Applied Sciences, Inc. proposes to overcome these issues through the use of a positive electrode with a rapid oxygen-exchange catalyst impregnated in a gas-diffusion electrode. The positive electrode catalyst is a transition-metal oxide with high activity for O-O bond cleavage and fast oxygen exchange. Once the proposed cathode is reduced to practive, it is anticipated that the combination of a high capacity anode with the proposed cathode will exceed a specific energy density of 1000 Ah/kg, at relatively low-cost.

Potential Applications

The development of a rechargeable battery with energy densities an order of magnitude higher than existing battery technologies will dramatically increase the mission capability of numerous military systems including silent watch, sensors, soldier power, UAVs and UUVs, surveillance, instrumentation, communication equipment, satellites, and directed energy weapons. Commercial applications for advanced battery technologies include power tools, hybrid and all-electric vehicles.

About Applied Sciences, Inc.
Applied Sciences, Inc. (ASI) is a nationally recognized research and development corporation located in Cedarville, Ohio specializing in advanced materials and their applications. Incorporated in 1984 Applied Sciences has a rich history of development work from a variety of funding sources including NASA, Army, Navy, Air Force, NIST, and EPA, as well as private contracts.

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