Most future batteries function wonderfully in a theoretical world, but many fail to meet the eight basic requirement of the so-called Octagon Battery. Short cycle life and limited load currents often prevent commercialization of the breakthroughs. While futuristic batteries may find a niche market, many never step outside the lab and see the light of day, not to mention advance to power the electric powertrain. This touches with emotions and is as far as the battery can go.
|Air cathode with lithium anode
|Lithium anode; graphite cathode
|Lithium anode; polymer separator
|Lithium anode; sulfur cathode
|Carbon anode; diverse cathodes
|Voltage per cell
|500Wh/kg or less
|Low power; inferior when cold
|High power band
|Poor conductivity when cold
|High power (2,500W/kg)
|50 cycles in labs
|Protection circuit required
|Safe; shipment by air possible
|Started in 1970s; renewed interest in the 2000s. R&D by IBM MIT, UC, etc.
|Produced in the 1980s by Moli Energy; caused safety recall
|Similar to Li-polymer that started in 1970
|New technology; R&D by Oxis Energy, Bosch and others.
|Ignored in the 1980s in favor
of lithium; has renewed interest
|Lithium peroxide film stops electron movement with use. Air impurity causes damage.
|Dendrite growth causes electric short with usage
|Dendrite growth causes electric short; poor low temperature. performance
|Sulfur degrades with cycling; unstable when hot, poor conductivity
|Little research in this area
|Not defined; potential for EV
|EV, industrial and portable uses
|EES, wheeled mobility; also talk about EV
|Solar-powered airplane flight in August 2008
|Borrowed from “breathing” zinc-air and fuel cell concept
|Good capacity, fast charge and high power keep interest high
|Similar to lithium-metal; may be ready by 2020; EVs in 2025
|May succeed Li-ion due to lower cost and higher capacity
|Low cost in par with lead acid. Can be fully discharged.
Table 1: Summary of most common future batteries. Readings are estimated and may vary with different versions and newer developments. More information on BU-212: Future Batteries. Readings are estimated and may vary with newest development.