Important Developments in Solid-State Batteries

2 min read
5/25/22 9:00 AM

You don’t have to be a techie to appreciate how improving rechargeable batteries can lead to overall improvements. Whether you would like to have more modern technology to provide consistent power or you are interested in investing in an electric car that requires less time between recharging, rechargeable batteries are at the heart of our modern technological development. The problem, as noted, is that current batteries can only hold so much charge and require considerable time for recharging. Developing solid-state batteries to the point of being mass-produced can lead to major improvements in our modern technological world.

What is a solid-state battery?

In short, a solid-state battery is very similar to a lithium-ion battery except that the liquid electrolyte is replaced with a solid electron-conducting material. The same electron movement from the cathode to the anode occurs, however, it is more direct and efficient than in a liquid-based electrolyte battery. Solid-state battery anodes include graphite or even Zinc, cathodes include nickel-rich lithium compounds and NASICON-type oxides with ceramics, glass, and polymers comprise the solid electrolyte layers between anodes and cathodes. The switch to a solid from a liquid electrolyte offers a variety of performance and safety improvements.

Why are solid-state batteries important?

Solid-state batteries offer a variety of potential benefits relative to traditional liquid-based electrolyte batteries, including rechargeable batteries. 

Improved Performance

Depending on the type of materials used, solid-state batteries can hold even more charge than traditional battery designs. Silicon anodes that would normally expand and contract during charging and recharging can hold up to 10 times more energy than the graphite anodes that are typically used in lithium-ion batteries. Further, solid-state batteries can be compressed more than lithium-ion batteries because the liquid electrolyte requires more volume. Solid-state batteries are also faster to recharge, increasing their functional applications. 

Of equal importance is that solid-state batteries avoid many of the problems that users can potentially encounter with traditional battery designs. First, liquid electrolytes are all toxic and a potential hazard if the battery casing is punctured. Overcharging and exposure to high-heat environments can also lead lithium-ion batteries to spontaneously combust, a danger that most users wish to avoid. Currently, battery design limits the amount of usage relative to storage capacity, but even the average output of a solid-state battery could increase storage capacity by 2-3 times that of lithium-ion batteries, making products such as electro voltaic (EV) cars even more practical. With a more compact design, solid-state batteries can be used in even more applications where size and space are limitations.

Future Applications

A variety of automotive and electronic manufacturers, including Toyota, Hyundai, Ford, and Samsung, are heavily investing in solid-state battery research and development. Hurdles to developing solid-state batteries include driving down the exorbitant costs related to the economy of scale production as well as increasing applications from small battery design. As demand will continue to increase and drive developments in EV car design and personal electronics and more commercial technology, solid-state batteries will continue to improve and find their way into even more applications. 

If you’re looking for more information about the best batteries for you, check out the Lead Acid vs. Lithium-ion guide to find out which batteries will give you the best charge for your projects. You just might find solid-state batteries giving you something else to energize your life. 

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