Lithium batteries celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2022, but they achieve only 25% of their theoretical energy density. Graphitic carbon and the layered NMC oxides, Li[NiMnCoAl]O2 dominate the anode and cathode respectively. The carbon in the anode must go for the highest energy density applications, as it takes up half the cell volume. Can we go back to lithium metal, the holy grail anode? The present status and possible approaches will be discussed. For the cathode, most of the cobalt must be eliminated, and eventually the nickel, but there will be trade-offs between cost, reactivity, energy density and lifetime. In addition, the morphology of electrode materials has a major impact on reactivity and I will discuss these challenges. Alternatives to Li-NMC cells will also be discussed, including vanadium based electrodes. We thank the US Department of Energy Battery500 Consortium for their support of this research.
M. Stanley Whittingham
Binghamton University (SUNY), USA
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019