Advanced Nanomaterials for Clean Energy GroupWestern Engineering

Metal Air Batteries

Alkali metal-oxygen (Li-O2 and Na-O2) batteries have attracted a great deal of attention recently due to their high theoretical energy densities, which is comparable to gasoline, making them attractive candidates for use in electrical vehicles. However, the limited cycling life and low energy efficiency (high charging overpotential) of these cells hinder their commercialization. Li-O2 battery system has been extensively studied in this regard. On the other side, Na-O2 batteries show a number of attractive properties such as low charging overpotential and high round-trip energy efficiency. Understanding the chemistry behind Na-O2 cells is critical towards enhancing their performance and advancing their development.


We design and synthesize nanostructured air electrodes to improve the efficiency and cycle life of alkali metal-O2 batteries. We also study the reaction mechanisms governing the chemistry of these cells to understand the failure mechanism of the cells and employ that knowledge to enhance our future designs. Meanwhile, we work on protection mechanisms for metallic Li and Na anodes as well as solid-state electrolytes to further enhance the performance and safety of the future metal-O2 batteries.



  1. Sun, J. Liu, X. Li, B. Wang, H. Yadegari, A. Lushington, M. Banis, Y. Zhao, W. Xiao, N. Chen, J. Wang, T.-K Sham, X. Sun, Atomic Layer Deposited Non-noble Metal Oxide Catalyst for Sodium-Air Batteries: Tuning the Morphologies and Compositions of Discharge ProductAdv. Funct. Mater., (2017) In press.
  2. Yadegari, M. Banis, A. Lushington, Q. Sun, R. Li, T.-K Sham and X. Sun, A Bifunctional Solid State Catalyst with Enhanced Cycling Stability for Na and Li-O2 Cells: Revealing the Role of Solid State Catalysts. Energy Environ. Sci., 10 (2017) 286-295.
  3. Yadegari, Q. Sun and X. Sun, Sodium-Oxygen Batteries: A Comparative Review from Chemical and Electrochemical Fundamentals to Future Perspective. Adv. Mater., (2016) 28, 7065-7093.
  4. Yadegari, M. Banis, B. Xiao, Q. Sun, X. Li, A. Lushington, B. Wang, R. Li, T.-K. Sham, X. Cui and X. Sun, Three-dimensional air electrode for sodium-oxygen battery: a mechanism study toward the cyclability of the cell. Chem. Mater., 27 (2015) 3040-3047.
  5. Sun, H. Yadegari, J. Liu, B. Xiao, X. Li, C. Langford, R. Li and X. Sun, Towards Sodium-"Air" Battery: Revealing the Critical Role of Humidity. J. Phys. Chem. C 119 24 (2014) 13433-13441.
  6. Sun, H. Yadegari, M. N. Banis, J. Liu, B. Xiao, B. Wang, S. Lawes, R. Li and X. Sun, Self-stacked Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Nanotubes and Long-life Air Electrode for Sodium-Air Batteries: Elucidating the Evolution of Discharge Product Morphology. Nano Energy 12 (2015) 698-708.
  7. Yadegari, Y. Li, M. Banis, X. Li, B. Wang, Q. Sun, R. Li, T.-K. Sham, X. Cui, X. Sun, On Rechargeability and Reaction Kinetics of Sodium-Air Batteries. Energy Environ. Sci. 7 (2014) 3747-3757.
  8. Li, H. Yadegari, X. Li, M. Banis, R. Li, X. Sun, Superior Catalytic Activity of Nitrogen-doped Graphene Cathode for High Performance Sodium-Air Batteries. Chem. Commun. 49 (2013) 11731-11733.
  9. Li, X. Li, D. Geng, Y. Tang, R. Li, J.-P. Dodelet, M. Lefèvre, X. Sun, Carbon Black Cathodes for Lithium Oxygen Batteries: Influence of Porosity and Heteroatom-doping. Carbon 64 (2013) 170-177.
  10. Li, J. Wang, X. Li, D. Geng, M. N. Banis, Y. Tang, D. Wang, R. Li, T.-K. Sham, X. Sun, Discharge Product Morphology and Increased Charge Performance of Lithium-oxygen Batteries with Graphene Nanosheet Electrodes: The Effect of Sulphur Doping. J. Mater. Chem. 22 (2012) 20170-20174.
  11. Li, J. Wang, X. Li, D. Geng, M. Banis, R. Li, X. Sun, Nitrogen-doped Graphene Nanosheets as Cathode Materials with Excellent Electrocatalytic Activity for High Capacity Lithium-oxygen Batteries. Electrochem. Commun. 18 (2012) 12-15.
  12. Li, J. Wang, X. Li, J. Liu, D. Geng, J. Yang, R. Li, X. Sun, Nitrogen-doped Carbon Nanotubes as Cathode for Lithium-Air Batteries. Electrochem. Commun. 13 (2011) 668-672.
  13. Li, J. Wang, X. Li, D. Geng, R. Li, X. Sun, Superior Energy Capacity of Graphene Nanosheets for Nonaqueous Lithium-Oxygen Battery. Chem. Commun. 47 (2011) 9438-9440.