Li-O2 battery could be the key to developing the next generation of batteries, and in a way that's environmentally friendly. But before they can supplant lithium-ion batteries as the industry standard they must overcome a number of problems, such as high cost and conversion efficiency. To that end, researchers at Yale University have their sights set on an oxygen-carrying blood molecule and they hope that breakthroughs will make the blood molecule to replace the present catalyst that used in Li-O2 batteries, which is conducive to prevent the formation of lithium peroxide and reduce the amount of animal waste disposal.
The lithium-air battery, Li-O2 battery for short, is a metal-air battery chemistry that uses oxidation of lithium at the anode and reduction of oxygen at the cathode to induce a current flow. Researchers have been looking for a catalyst that can trigger the decomposition of lithium peroxide and other lithium oxide byproducts back into lithium ions and oxygen. Now, scientists at Yale believe that they've found the solution in the animal’s blood — hemoglobin molecules. The molecule would dissolve into the battery's electrolytes and act as a redox mediator, which lowers the energy barrier required for the electrochemical reaction to take place to improve the charging-discharging performance of the battery.