Challenges for rechargeable Li batteries

  • Goodenough J
  • Kim Y
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Abstract

The challenges for further development of Li rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles are reviewed. Most important is safety, which requires development of a nonflammable electrolyte with either a larger window between its lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) and highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) or a constituent (or additive) that can develop rapidly a solid/electrolyte-interface (SEI) layer to prevent plating of Li on a carbon anode during a fast charge of the battery. A high Li+-ion conductivity (σLi > 10?4 S/cm) in the electrolyte and across the electrode/electrolyte interface is needed for a power battery. Important also is an increase in the density of the stored energy, which is the product of the voltage and capacity of reversible Li insertion/extraction into/from the electrodes. It will be difficult to design a better anode than carbon, but carbon requires formation of an SEI layer, which involves an irreversible capacity loss. The design of a cathode composed of environmentally benign, low-cost materials that has its electrochemical potential ?C well-matched to the HOMO of the electrolyte and allows access to two Li atoms per transition-metal cation would increase the energy density, but it is a daunting challenge. Two redox couples can be accessed where the cation redox couples are ?pinned? at the top of the O 2p bands, but to take advantage of this possibility, it must be realized in a framework structure that can accept more than one Li atom per transition-metal cation. Moreover, such a situation represents an intrinsic voltage limit of the cathode, and matching this limit to the HOMO of the electrolyte requires the ability to tune the intrinsic voltage limit. Finally, the chemical compatibility in the battery must allow a long service life.
The challenges for further development of Li rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles are reviewed. Most important is safety, which requires development of a nonflammable electrolyte with either a larger window between its lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) and highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) or a constituent (or additive) that can develop rapidly a solid/electrolyte-interface (SEI) layer to prevent plating of Li on a carbon anode during a fast charge of the battery. A high Li+-ion conductivity (σLi > 10?4 S/cm) in the electrolyte and across the electrode/electrolyte interface is needed for a power battery. Important also is an increase in the density of the stored energy, which is the product of the voltage and capacity of reversible Li insertion/extraction into/from the electrodes. It will be difficult to design a better anode than carbon, but carbon requires formation of an SEI layer, which involves an irreversible capacity loss. The design of a cathode composed of environmentally benign, low-cost materials that has its electrochemical potential ?C well-matched to the HOMO of the electrolyte and allows access to two Li atoms per transition-metal cation would increase the energy density, but it is a daunting challenge. Two redox couples can be accessed where the cation redox couples are ?pinned? at the top of the O 2p bands, but to take advantage of this possibility, it must be realized in a framework structure that can accept more than one Li atom per transition-metal cation. Moreover, such a situation represents an intrinsic voltage limit of the cathode, and matching this limit to the HOMO of the electrolyte requires the ability to tune the intrinsic voltage limit. Finally, the chemical compatibility in the battery must allow a long service life.

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Authors

  • John B. Goodenough

  • Youngsik Kim

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