Schematic of lithium-air battery charge and
Professor Peter Bruce and his group of the School of Chemistry are working on new electrode materials and new approaches to lithium batteries. Some years ago, Prof. Bruce was the first to synthesise layered LiMnO2 (Nature, 1996) with the structure of LiCoO2 (used in most lithium-ion batteries) but replacing Co by lower cost and safer Mn. He has since worked on titanate anodes and silicate cathodes.
The Tesla, a battery electric vehicle
Beyond lithium-ion batteries, the new, lithium-air batteries, which use oxygen from surrounding air, could exceed the energy storage of lithium-ion batteries. As such, lithium air may be able to deliver for the automotive industry an electric vehicle with a 500km driving range. Bruce has carried out pioneering research on lithium-air, especially the reactions at the cathode. Many organisations are pursuing the lithium-air battery globally.