Polymers (Basel). 2023 Jul 26;15(15):3182. doi: 10.3390/polym15153182.
Lithium-oxygen batteries, with their very high energy density (3500 Wh kg-1), could represent a real breakthrough in the envisioned strategies towards more efficient energy storage solutions for a less and less carbonated energy mix. However, the problems associated with this technology are numerous. A first one is linked to the high reactivity of the lithium metal anode, while a second one is linked to the highly oxidative environment created by the cell’s O2 saturation. Keeping in mind the necessity for greener materials in future energy storage solutions, in this work an innovative lithium protective membrane is prepared based on chitosan, a polysaccharide obtained from the deacetylation reaction of chitin. Chitosan was methacrylated through a simple, one-step reaction in water and then cross-linked by UV-induced radical polymerization. The obtained membranes were successively activated in liquid electrolyte and used as a lithium protection layer. The cells prepared with protected lithium were able to reach a higher full discharge capacity, and the chitosan’s ability to slow down degradation processes was verified by post-mortem analyses. Moreover, in long cycling conditions, the protected lithium cell performed more than 40 cycles at 0.1 mA cm-2, at a fixed capacity of 0.5 mAh cm-2, retaining 100% coulombic efficiency, which is more than twice the lifespan of the bare lithium cell.