Understanding Side Reactions in K-O-2 Batteries for Improved Cycle Life

Understanding Side Reactions in K-O-2 Batteries for Improved Cycle Life

Journal Article


​​Superoxide based metal-air (or metal-oxygen) batteries, including potassium and sodium-oxygen batteries, have emerged as promising alternative chemistries in the metal-air battery family because of much improved round-trip efficiencies (>90%). In order to improve the cycle life of these batteries, it is crucial to understand and control the side reactions between the electrodes and the electrolyte. For potassium-oxygen batteries using ether-based electrolytes, the side reactions on the potassium anode have been identified as the main cause of battery failure. The composition of the side products formed on the anode, including some reaction intermediates, have been identified and quantified. Combined experimental studies and density functional theory (DFT) calculations show the side reactions are likely driven by the interaction of potassium with ether molecules and the crossover of oxygen from the cathode. To inhibit these side reactions, the incorporation of a polymeric potassium ion selective membrane (Nafion-K+) as a battery separator is demonstrated that significantly improves the battery cycle life. The K-O-2 battery with the Nafion-K+ separator can be discharged and charged for more than 40 cycles without increases in charging overpotential.


ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 6 (21), pp 19299–19307
08 Oct 2014
X. Ren, K. Lau, M. Yu, X. Bi, E. Kreidler, L. Curtiss, Y. Wu