Advanced Materials, Vol.27, No.5, 784-800, 2015
The Lithium/Air Battery: Still an Emerging System or a Practical Reality?
Lithium/air is a fascinating energy storage system. The effective exploitation of air as a battery electrode has been the long-time dream of the battery community. Air is, in principle, a no-cost material characterized by a very high specific capacity value. In the particular case of the lithium/air system, energy levels approaching that of gasoline have been postulated. It is then not surprising that, in the course of the last decade, great attention has been devoted to this battery by various top academic and industrial laboratories worldwide. This intense investigation, however, has soon highlighted a series of issues that prevent a rapid development of the Li/air electrochemical system. Although several breakthroughs have been achieved recently, the question on whether this battery will have an effective economic and societal impact remains. In this review, a critical evaluation of the progress achieved so far is made, together with an attempt to propose future R&D trends. A forecast on whether Li/air may have a role in the next years' battery technology is also postulated.