Lithium metal batteries are among the most promising candidates of the next generation of high-energy batteries. They can store at least twice as much energy per unit of volume as the lithium-ion batteries that are in widespread use today. This will mean, for example, that an electric car can travel twice as far on a single charge, or that a smartphone will not have to be recharged so often.

At present, there is still one crucial drawback with lithium metal batteries: the liquid electrolyte requires the addition of significant amounts of fluorinated solvents and fluorinated salts, which increases its environmental footprint. Without the addition of fluorine, however, lithium metal batteries would be unstable, they would stop working after very few charging cycles and be prone to short circuits as well as overheating and igniting. A research group led by Maria Lukatskaya, Professor of Electrochemical Energy Systems at ETH Zurich, has now developed a new method that dramatically reduces the amount of fluorine required in lithium metal batteries, thereby rendering them more environmentally friendly and more stable as well as cost-effective.

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