The past few years have seen strong growth in the adoption of battery electric vehicles. However, much of this can be attributed to government incentives provided in countries such as China and Norway. Mass adoption will require further improvement to both range and cost.
Improving range requires batteries with higher energy density but Li-ion batteries using graphite anodes, metal oxide cathodes and liquid electrolytes are starting to reach the limits of their performance capabilities.
Find out how companies are continuing to improve cell and battery performance and the post Li-ion batteries being developed to break through these limits at Energy Storage Innovations USA, hosted by IDTechEx.
Solid-state electrolytes promise one way forward. Improvements to safety are possible through removal of the flammable liquid electrolyte, while higher energy density can be achieved through thinner cells and the use of high capacity lithium metal.
Indeed, solid-state electrolytes are a topic of intense research and development by many, with Toyota aiming to release a solid-state battery vehicle during 2020, ready for the summer Olympics. Solid-state electrolytes are already used in miniature and micro-batteries intended for medical devices and IoT applications. Vapour deposition techniques can be used to manufacture the cells but both size and manufacturing will have to scale to allow adoption in electric vehicles and other applications.
A slurry-based manufacturing process will be better suited to larger format cells but there are various issues that still need addressing. The thickness of solid electrolytes should be comparable with current Li-ion separators to ensure energy density improvement, while proper contact and interface between electrolyte and electrode must be ensured. If lithium metal is being introduced at the anode, then further questions arise regarding cycle life, fast charging and cost.
Solid Power, Ilika, ITEN and BrightVolt will be presenting on their solid-state electrolyte solutions at Energy Storage Innovations USA, part of the IDTechEx Show! running from Nov. 20-21. The conference keynote will be given by IDTechEx chairman Dr. Peter Harrop, who will present an overview of the key trends and developments in the energy storage market.