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Lithium ion, lithium metal, and alternative rechargeable battery technologies: the odyssey for high energy density


Since their market introduction in 1991, lithium ion batteries (LIBs) have developed evolutionary in terms of their specific energies (Wh/kg) and energy densities (Wh/L). Currently, they do not only dominate the small format battery market for portable electronic devices, but have also been successfully implemented as the technology of choice for electromobility as well as for stationary energy storage. Besides LIBs, a variety of different technologically promising battery concepts exists that, depending on the respective technology, might also be suitable for various application purposes. These systems of the “next generation,” the so-called post-lithium ion batteries (PLIBs), such as metal/sulfur, metal/air or metal/oxygen, or “post-lithium technologies” (systems without Li), which are based on alternative single (Na+, K+) or multivalent ions (Mg2+, Ca2+), are currently being studied intensively. From today’s point of view, it seems quite clear that there will not only be a single technology for all applications (technology monopoly), but different battery systems, which can be especially suitable or combined for a particular application (technology diversity). In this review, we place the lithium ion technology in a historical context and give insights into the battery technology diversity that evolved during the past decades and which will, in turn, influence future research and development.

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The authors wish to thank the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for funding this work in the project “BenchBatt” (03XP0047A). The authors also want to thank Andre Bar for the preparation of various graphics for this manuscript.

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Placke, T., Kloepsch, R., Dühnen, S. et al. Lithium ion, lithium metal, and alternative rechargeable battery technologies: the odyssey for high energy density. J Solid State Electrochem 21, 1939–1964 (2017).

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  • Lithium ion batteries
  • Lithium metal batteries
  • Post-lithium ion batteries
  • Energy density
  • History of batteries