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Hi folks,

As most of you know I'm following the Lithium battery story with some interest. Just found out about a conference this December devoted to discussion of state of the art Lithium ("LITHIUM MOBILE POWER 2004"). Some of the 'big' players are there - including Sion and Polyplus. For those who are interested, the conference webpage is here.

However, of most interest is the list of abstracts (pdf here). All of them are very encouraging, but just listen to what Polyplus have to say about their new "Lithium Aircell".

4:00 A Major Breakthrough in Lithium Metal Batteries
Steven J. Visco, PhD, Vice President, PolyPlus Battery Company*
PolyPlus Battery Company (PPBC) has made a revolutionary breakthrough in lithium metal battery chemistry based on glass coated Li metal electrodes that can be reversibly cycled in extremely aggressive liquid electrolytes, including both aqueous and non-aqueous systems. This innovation enables the development of highly reversible Li/S cells as well as new battery chemistries with unprecedented energy densities including the PPBC Lithium Aircell, which has a theoretical specific energy of 11,600 Wh/kg. The high specific energy of the Li/air couple is close to that of liquid hydrocarbons such as gasoline and much higher than methanol. The discovery of water-stable lithium metal electrodes by PolyPlus Battery Company enables a potentially revolutionary improvement in energy density for rechargeable and primary battery power sources. The simple structure of metal/air cells also avoids much of the complexity of hydrocarbon-based fuel cells, such as fuel processing and thermal management, and makes metal/air batteries highly portable. Furthermore, the effective de-coupling of the Li metal electrode from the liquid electrolyte system enables the development of new generations of batteries, both aqueous and non-aqueous, where exceptionally high gravimetric and volumetric energy density can be expected, as well as long cycle life.

Wow! 11,600Wh/kg could mean about 3,000 Wh/kg in practice - so a 100kg battery in the trunk of an electric Prius would give it a range of 1,200 miles between recharges!

Looking forward to hearing more about this "Aircell". 8)
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