Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and at Argonne National Laboratory have designed a new lithium-air battery that works in a natural-air environment and still functioned after a record-breaking 750 charge/discharge cycles.

"Our lithium-air battery design represents a revolution in the battery community," said Amin Salehi-Khojin, assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering and co-corresponding author of the paper.

"This first demonstration of a true lithium-air battery is an important step toward what we call 'beyond lithium-ion' batteries, but we have more work to do in order to commercialize it."

Lithium-air batteries -- believed to be able to hold up to five times more energy than the lithium-ion batteries that power our phones, laptops and electric vehicles -- have been tantalizing to battery researchers for years.

But several obstacles have plagued their development.

Unfortunately, experimental designs of such lithium-air batteries have been unable to operate in a true natural-air environment due to the oxidation of the lithium anode and production of undesirable byproducts on the cathode that result from lithium ions combining with carbon dioxide and water vapor in the air.

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