By André Julião, in London | Agência FAPESP – Current lithium ion battery technology will probably not be able to handle the coming decades’ huge demand for energy. It is estimated that by 2050, electricity will make up 50% of the world’s energy mix. Today that rate is 18%. But installed capacity for renewable energy production is expected to increase fourfold. This will require batteries that are more efficient, cheaper and environmentally friendly.
One of the alternatives being studied today in many parts of the world is the lithium-air battery. Some of the Brazilian efforts in the search for such device were presented on Day Two of FAPESP Week London, held February 11-12, 2019.
“There is a lot of talk today about electric cars. Some European countries are also thinking about banning combustion engines. In addition, renewable sources like solar energy need batteries to store what is generated during the day through solar radiation,” said Rubens Maciel Filho, a professor at the School of Chemical Engineering of the University of Campinas (UNICAMP).
The lithium-air battery, currently functioning only on a laboratory scale, uses ambient oxygen as a reagent. The battery stores additional energy through an electrochemical reaction that results in the formation of lithium oxide.