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Center Innovation Fund: GRC CIF

Mars Li-CO2 Batteries

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Mars Li-CO2 Batteries
Recently, Lithium (Li)-air batteries have attracted significant attention for energy storage in electric vehicles/aircraft because this system utilizes O2 in the air as the cathode reactant (i.e., “Li-O2 battery”; Li + O2 ↔ Li2O2) and is projected to attain ultrahigh, cell specific energy that is substantially higher than conventional Li-ion batteries (1000 vs. ~260 Wh/kg at the cell level). The Mars “Air” Battery (MAB) is envisioned to have analogous benefits for Mars surface applications, exploiting the abundant CO2 present in the Martian atmosphere. This Mars “Air” Battery (MAB) concept is a Li-CO2 battery that reacts atmospheric CO2 with lithium metal to produce electric power. This enables dramatically high specific energies because the CO2 reactant is not included in the upmass of the battery system. Significantly, the MABs electrodes may also function effectively in an oxygen-rich environment (habitats, spacesuits, etc.) with no loss in battery performance. This provides the potential to design flexible, multi-use battery systems. The goal is to quantify the system-level benefits of the Mars "Air" Battery (MAB) technology at Mars atmospheric conditions (-60°C, 0.6 kPa) over a range of power requirements. More »

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