The Future of Batteries
Since its invention in 1800, batteries have come a long way and now play a major role in our everyday lives. However, for decades the industry has been facing difficulties in its attempts to propel past the lithium-ion battery that powers our phones and electric vehicles (EV). This is all about to change. The introduction of solid-state batteries is expected to revolutionize the energy industry.
Current lithium-ion batteries
Standard lithium-ion batteries have four main components: two electrodes – the anode and cathode, a separator, and an electrolyte. These batteries work when charged lithium ions are carried by the electrolyte solution from the anode to the cathode through the separator, and vice versa. Today’s common lithium-ion batteries have a liquid electrolyte solution.
To learn more about the components and how current lithium-ion batteries work in more detail, visit this webpage.
The main difference between lithium-ion and solid-state batteries lies within the electrolyte. Instead of using a liquid electrolyte solution, solid-state use a solid electrolyte that also acts as the separator.
You may be asking yourself, so what? Well, this development holds many advantages over today’s lithium-ion batteries. Let’s take a look.
Why solid-state trumps lithium-ion
Higher energy density
Solid-state batteries are said to be 2.5 times more energy dense than the current lithium-ion versions. This means they can hold the same amount of energy while being much smaller and lighter.
The current liquid electrolyte solution is highly flammable and very volatile. The solution also cannot be exposed to air. On the other hand, solid electrolytes can be exposed to air and are not flammable. Even though the batteries may still become hot, there are no internal parts that will catch fire, making them much safer to use. Solid-state also require much less security and safety systems to operate which further decreases its size and weight, allowing for more power.
Research has shown that solid-state batteries can work at high rates of power and could potentially charge four to six times faster than lithium-ion. To put this into perspective, an electric vehicle using this technology could charge from 0 – 80% in just 10 – 15 minutes.
Solid-state batteries can be charged many more times than lithium-ion batteries. The liquid electrolyte used in lithium-ion slowly corrodes the electrodes contained inside the battery, shortening its life. This does not happen with a solid electrolyte which allows for a lifespan around 4 – 5 times longer than current batteries.
Easier manufacturing process
Unlike a liquid electrolyte solution, a solid electrolyte can be exposed to air which facilitates the manufacturing process of solid-state batteries. This means much faster production using less materials and energy.
Batteries and sustainability
Solid state batteries clearly have significant advantages, but how do they benefit our efforts towards sustainability?
One of the biggest changes that needs to be made for a zero-carbon society is the transition to electric vehicles. Solid-state batteries, combined with other advances in technology can propel electric vehicles to the next level with better range, longer life, and more affordable price tags. Companies like Toyota and Volkswagen have already invested in this technology and are doing research of their own to take advantage of the opportunity.
Another benefit relates to the shift away from fossil fuels. As we transition to more sustainable methods of energy generation like wind and solar, we need high performing, reliable batteries to retain energy until it is needed. This solid-state technology will greatly improve our current storage and allow for more efficient energy use, further reducing the reliance on fossil fuels.
To wrap things up, solid-state hold many advantages over current lithium-ion batteries. It is now just a matter of time until these batteries are released so we can see their true potential in action. Could they revolutionize the energy industry? We will have to wait and see.