Lithium-Air Battery Technology and the Battery 500 Project (Electric Vehicles Land, Sea & Air USA 2012)

Dr Winfried Wilcke, Senior Manager, Nanoscale Science and Technology
IBM Research
United States
Mar 28, 2012.


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Presentation Summary

  • Battery 500 Project
  • Lithium-air battery research
  • Overview of scientific status

Speaker Biography (Winfried Wilcke)

Dr. Winfried W. Wilcke is Senior Manager for Nanoscale Science&Technology and Chair of the Almaden Institute for Energy Storage at the IBM Research Center in San Jose, CA. His recent personal research has been in advanced energy storage, leading him to launch the Battery 500 project. In 2001, he started the IBM Icecube project, which became an IBM spinout company. In 1991, he participated in forming HAL computer systems as Director of Architecture and later CTO. In 1983, he joined IBM Research in Yorktown Heights, where he played a key role in the creation of IBM's line of large message-passing supercomputers. Dr. Wilcke received a PhD in nuclear physics (1976) and worked at the University of Rochester, Lawrence Berkeley Lab and Los Alamos, leading to over 120 publications

Company Profile (IBM)

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IBM started the Battery 500 project in 2009 to develop a new type of lithium-air battery technology that is expected to improve energy density tenfold, dramatically increasing the amount of energy these batteries can generate and store. Today, IBM researchers have successfully demonstrated the fundamental chemistry of the charge-and-recharge process for lithium-air batteries.
Lithium-air is a chemistry with the potential for very high specific energy density (Wh/kg). It relies on the use of oxygen (or ideally ambient air) to form a Lithium compound during discharge and the reduction of this compound to lithium metal and gaseous oxygen during recharge. Key results are that such batteries are rechargeable, provided the correct electrolytes are used; catalysts are not required, the origin of the overvoltages seen is most likely due to high I*R drop in Lithium Peroxide. Very high charge densities have already been measured, but power densities are still low.
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