Are Solid-State Batteries the Future?

Research and development for next-generation solid-state batteries are on the rise, according to IDTechEx’s “Solid-State and Polymer Batteries 2021-2031: Technology, Forecasts, Players” report, fueled by high expectations for the electric vehicle (EV) market, particularly pledges of billions of dollars of support in President Joe Biden’s proposed infrastructure bill. Also, read more about here courses related to electrical engineering.

Solid-state batteries will significantly impact the EV market when they are commercialised (most forecasts target 2025-2030) because they will store high energy, charge faster, and be safer than ordinary liquid lithium-ion batteries.

Advantages of Solid-State Batteries

A liquid electrolyte solution is used in lithium-ion batteries, which can be volatile and flammable at high temperatures. Because they can be vulnerable to fire if there is a short circuit or physical damage, these batteries are considered a safety issue. Furthermore, the only option to increase energy density in electric vehicles is to add additional batteries, which take up valuable space, increase weight, and raise expenses.

Today’s liquid electrolyte-based lithium-ion battery cells, according to Will McKenna, marketing communications director for Solid Power, a Colorado-based solid-state-battery start-up, have four major drawbacks:

  • Drive range is limited.
  • Calendar life is limited.
  • Abuse tolerance is low.
  • Materials and packaging techniques are costly.

“Today’s battery packs are particularly complicated, requiring cooling systems to maintain stability and extensive engineering to limit risk due to temperature sensitivity and the highly combustible and volatile components,” McKenna said. “This raises the cost of producing battery packs.”

A solid electrolyte is used in solid-state batteries, which is more stable, less explosive, and safer. Both the electrodes and the electrolytes in solid-state batteries are solid-state, according to IDTechEx. “In most cases, solid-state electrolytes also act as separators, allowing for downscaling by removing certain components like the separator and casing.” As a result, they could be thinner, more flexible, and have more energy per unit weight than traditional lithium-ion batteries. “Removing liquid electrolytes from batteries can lead to safer, longer-lasting batteries more resistant to temperature changes and physical damage during use.”

Because of the increased safety, the battery packs require more miniature safety monitoring electronics. Compared to liquid lithium-ion batteries, more stability means faster charging and more energy capacity.

“Solid-state batteries can obtain an 80 percent charge in 15 minutes and experience less strain after numerous charging cycles,” After 1,000 cycles, a lithium-ion battery begins to degrade and lose power capability. After 5,000 cycles, a solid-state battery will retain 90% of its capacity. Solid-state batteries can be lighter, have a higher energy density, have a more extended range, and recharge faster due to this.”

R&D at a faster pace

Although small-scale production may come sooner, most companies plan to commercialize their solid-state batteries by 2025. To achieve this goal, however, significant R&D is required to address critical challenges such as material behavior, battery microstructure, charge lifespan, and cracking due to thermal expansion and contraction.

Automakers and cell manufacturers are particularly interested in silicon anodes. Silicon anodes can save up to ten times the energy of industry-standard graphite anodes. However, they have capacity retention issues. The silicon might stretch and contract during charging and discharging, resulting in cracking and a lower life span. Researchers are experimenting with different silicon concentrations to see if they can avoid these difficulties with life-cycle deterioration. Check out the battery management system online course.

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