Solid battery tech shows promise

April 8, 2016

High performance batteries suitable for electric vehicles may emerge from new research on crystals by Toyota and the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Scientists have synthesised two crystal materials that show considerable promise as solid electrolytes – the charge carrier within a battery.

Solid batteries have a number of advantages when compared with common battery technology systems, which use liquid electrolytes, including better charge retention and improved performance at high and low temperatures.

Timeline graphic showing the history of solid lithium battery research
Timeline graphic showing the history of solid lithium battery research

The researchers used their two new solid electrolytes to create two battery cell types; one high-voltage cell and one designed to work under large currents. Both solid-state cell types exhibited superior performance compared with lithium ion batteries, operating well at temperatures between -30 and 100°C, the researchers claimed.

They found that the cells provided high power density – energy per unit volume – with ultrafast charging capabilities and a longer lifespan than existing battery types.

Both materials developed by the team also showed extremely high conductivity and good stability, and could be used in long-distance electric vehicles.

Editor’s comment: Previous designs for solid electrolytes have shown promise, but have proven expensive, with some exhibiting problems with electrochemical stability. Although the scientists note the technology requires further development before it is commercially available, these promising results from crystalline electrolytes indicate that all-solid batteries may soon provide a boost to applications requiring stable, long-life energy storage.

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