The lithium-air battery is a future technology for high- performance batteries that is still under development. With such metal-air batteries, energy densities are achieved that exceed the energy density of lithium-ion batteries many times over. Theoretically, energy densities of 11 kWh/kg should be achieved with a lithium-air battery; in practice, energy densities of around 2 kWh/kg are already being realized. In contrast to the lithium-air battery, a lithium-ion battery has an energy density of about 250 Wh/kg.
Lithium-air batteries consist of two electrodes between which the electrolyte is located. The anode consists of metallic lithium from lithium cobalt oxide, the cathode is an air-permeable carbon lattice in nanostructure, in which oxygen is embedded. The oxygen required for the reaction is taken from the air.
The electrically conductive electrolyte is a solid electrolyte or an organic solvent. During charging, the lithium ions migrate from the cathode through the electrolyte to the anode, releasing oxygen into the air. When discharging, the lithium atoms at the anode emit electrons that supply current to the connected circuit. The lithium ions migrate from the anode through the electrolyte to the cathode where they react with oxygen from the air.