Li-air batteries (LABs) are promising because of their high energy density. However, LABs are troubled by large electrochemical polarization during discharge and charge, side reactions from both carbon cathode surface/peroxide product and electrolyte/superoxide intermediate, as well as the requirement for pure O2. Here we report the solution using multiwall carbon nanotubes (MCNTs)@MnO2 nanocomposite cathode integrated with N,N′-bis(salicylidene)ethylenediaminocobalt(II) (CoII-salen) in electrolyte for LABs. The advantage of such a combination is that on one hand, the coating layer of δ-MnO2 with about 2-3 nm on MCNTs@MnO2 nanocomposite catalyzes Li2O2 decomposition during charge and suppresses side reactions between product Li2O2 and MCNT surface. On the other hand, CoII-salen works as a mobile O2-carrier and accelerates Li2O2 formation through the reaciton of (CoIII-salen)2-O22- + 2Li+ + 2e- → 2CoII-salen + Li2O2. This reaction route overcomes the pure O2 limitation and avoids the formation of aggressive superoxide intermediate (O2- or LiO2), which easily attacks organic electrolyte. By using this double-catalyst system of Co-salen/MCNTs@MnO2, the lifetime of LABs is prolonged to 300 cycles at 500 mA g-1 (0.15 mA cm-2) with fixed capacity of 1000 mAh g-1 (0.30 mAh cm-2) in dry air (21% O2). Furthermore, we up-scale the capacity to 500 mAh (5.2 mAh cm-2) in pouch-type batteries (∼4 g, 325 Wh kg-1). This study should pave a new way for the design and construction of practical LABs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanical Engineering