Could Molten Air Nanotechnology Power Future Medical Devices?

Qmed Staff

September 16, 2013

1 Min Read
Could Molten Air Nanotechnology Power Future Medical Devices?

In the future, medical implants and portable devices could be powered by a rechargeable oxygen-based battery. While a lithium-oxygen battery would contain some technologies found in traditional lithium-ion batteries, this novel power system doesn't require the use of metal oxide cathodes for the generation of power. Instead, lithium-oxygen batteries would generate power from reactions that take place with atmospheric oxygen.

As of now, air has been used in batteries designed for one-time use. For example, some hearing aid batteries use air to generate electrochemical power. However, using air in rechargeable battery has been a significant challenge. Since lithium-air batteries have a need for non-reactive resistance electrolytes (and low-density lithium), batteries designed with this technology have a low capacity.

According to a study published in Energy & Environmental Science, molten air batteries are able to solve these issues through the use of very-high-capacity multiple electron compounds like vanadium diboride and carbon. In addition, the use of molten electrolytes can improve the volumetric battery capacity of these systems. Since a molten air battery isn't weighed down by a cathode material, a molten air battery can hold a significant amount of power in a light package. The system's molten air electrode can utilize atmospheric oxygen to boost capacity.

"Molten air batteries advance the field of energy storage by opening up multiple opportunities for new higher capacity batteries," notes Stuart Licht, a professor at George Washington University. "These are the first batteries to reversibly use oxygen from the air to store energy via a molten salt and multiple electrons stored per molecule at the counter electrode."

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