In recent years, there have been great interest in alkali-O2 batteries with extremely high specific energies. Li-O2 batteries offer the greatest theoretical specific energy, but currently suffer from large charging overpotentials and low power densities. Na-O2 offers a somewhat lower theoretical specific energy compared to Li-O2, but still a substantial improvement over today’s lithium-ion batteries. In this talk, we will demonstrate how first principles calculations can provide crucial insight into the workings of alkali-O2 batteries. We will elucidate a facile mechanism for recharging Li2O¬¬2 that is accessible at relatively low overpotentials of ~0.3-0.4V and is likely to be kinetically favored over Li2O2 decomposition. We will also demonstrate that sodium superoxide (NaO2) is predicted to be considerably more stable than sodium peroxide (Na2O2) at the nanoscale. Using first principles calculations, we derive the specific electrochemical conditions to nucleate and retain NaO2 and comment on the importance of considering the nanophase thermodynamics when optimizing an electrochemical system.