Rechargeable lithium–metal battery

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Rechargeable lithium metal batteries are secondary lithium metal batteries. They have metallic lithium as a negative electrode, sometimes referred to as the battery anode. Rechargeable lithium metal batteries can have a long run time due to the high charge density of lithium as an anode material. Several companies and many academic research groups are currently researching and developing rechargeable lithium metal batteries as they are considered a leading pathway for development beyond lithium-ion batteries.[1] Some rechargeable lithium metal batteries employ a liquid electrolyte and some employ a solid-state electrolyte.


A rechargeable lithium metal battery was commercialized by Moli Energy (now known as E-One Moli Energy) in the 1980s, but after several cells caught fire, devices using Moli batteries were recalled and the company went into receivership.[2]

Research directions[edit]

The primary challenges in developing practical rechargeable lithium metal batteries are low cell life due to low Coulombic efficiency, and poor reliability due to dendrite formation causing a short-circuit. Efforts to improve performance center around the choice of electrolyte, since the electrolyte reaction with lithium dictates Coulombic efficiency, and the separator electrolyte must withstand dendrite formation.

Liquid electrolyte[edit]

Research directions include high salt systems, additives or fluorine-containing electrolytes that form solid-electrolyte interface (SEI) layers on lithium, and encapsulating lithium inside protective shells.

Solid-state electrolyte[edit]

Solid polymer electrolytes such as poly-ethylene oxide (PEO) have been researched for decades but require high temperature, low voltage cathodes, and low current densities to reach reasonable cycle life and reliability.[3] Inorganic-polymer composites have been studied to find a processable, flexible system. Many inorganic materials families have been studied, including LiPON, lithium borohydride, glassy, semi-crystalline, and crystalline sulfides, NASICON structured phosphates, perovskites, anti-perovskites, and garnets.


Rechargeable lithium metal batteries have been commercialized by Bolloré in the Bluecar program, and thin film batteries with low energy content were sold by Cymbet and others. Several companies are developing rechargeable lithium metal batteries for applications in consumer electronics devices and electric vehicles. The status of the development efforts that have publicly announced data is summarized in the table below.

Lithium metal anode cell cycling data summary
Organization Cell size Current density Cycles Pressure Mass loading Temperature Source
Ion storage systems 1 layer coin cell 0.2 mA/cm2 25 ? 2.5 mAh/cm2 25 [4]
PolyPlus 1 layer coin cell 0.4 mA/cm2 50 ? 2.6 mAh/cm2 ? [5]
Samsung 600 mAh 2 layer 3.4 mA/cm2 1000 20 atm 6.8 mAh/cm2 60 °C [6]
Sion 1.8 Ah C/1.5 700 ? ? ? [7]
Solid Power 20 Ah 22-layer 0.3 mA/cm2 30 10 atm 3 mAh/cm2 29 °C [8]
QuantumScape 70x85mm 10-layer 3.2 mA/cm2 800 3.4 atm 3.2 mAh/cm2 29 °C [9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Albertus, Paul; Babinec, Susan; Litzelman, Scott; Newman, Aron (2018). "Status and challenges in enabling the lithium metal electrode for high-energy and low-cost rechargeable batteries". Nature Energy. 3: 16–21. Bibcode:2018NatEn...3...16A. doi:10.1038/s41560-017-0047-2. S2CID 139241677. Retrieved 2021-02-13.
  2. ^ Emma Jarratt (2020-09-18). "New lessons from the epic story of Moli Energy, the Canadian pioneer of rechargeable lithium battery technology". Electric Autonomy Canada. ArcAscent Inc. Retrieved 2021-05-09.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ Hovington, P.; Lagacé, M.; Guerfi, A.; Bouchard, P.; Mauger, A.; Julien, C. M.; Armand, M.; Zaghib, K. (2015). "New Lithium Metal Polymer Solid State Battery for an Ultrahigh Energy: Nano C-LiFePO4 versus Nano Li1.2V3O8". Nano Letters. 15 (4): 2671–2678. Bibcode:2015NanoL..15.2671H. doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b00326. PMID 25714564. Retrieved 2021-02-13.
  4. ^ "3D lithium metal anodes hosted". doi:10.1016/j.ensm.2018.04.015. S2CID 103494783. Retrieved 2021-02-13. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ "ARPA-E IONICS 2020 update" (PDF). Retrieved 2021-02-13.
  6. ^ Lee, Yong-Gun; Fujiki, Satoshi; Jung, Changhoon; Suzuki, Naoki; Yashiro, Nobuyoshi; Omoda, Ryo; Ko, Dong-Su; Shiratsuchi, Tomoyuki; Sugimoto, Toshinori; Ryu, Saebom; Ku, Jun Hwan; Watanabe, Taku; Park, Youngsin; Aihara, Yuichi; Im, Dongmin; Han, In Taek (2020). "High-energy long-cycling all-solid-state lithium metal batteries enabled by silver–carbon composite anodes". Nature Energy. 5 (4): 299–308. Bibcode:2020NatEn...5..299L. doi:10.1038/s41560-020-0575-z. S2CID 216386265. Retrieved 2021-02-13.
  7. ^ "Key EV Battery Performance Requirements". Retrieved 2021-02-13.
  8. ^ "December 10, 2020 announcement on Twitter". Retrieved 2021-02-13.
  9. ^ "Quantumscape Q4 2021 Shareholder Letter" (PDF). Retrieved 2022-02-21.