The photo is sourced from https://solidpowerbattery.com
A distinctive feature of this new type of batteries is a solid electrolyte, the substance ensuring the transfer of current ions from a negative electrode (the anode) to a positive one (the cathode) when a battery is discharging and, in the opposite direction, when it is charging. Lithium-ion battery manufacturers use liquid electrolyte, while the Solid Power’s development uses solid and thin layers of sulfides – hydrogen sulfide salts, which are widespread in the Earth’s crust. The new battery’s anode is made of silicon, which makes possible fast charging, and the cathode is made of oxide of an alloy of nickel, cobalt, manganese and lithium (NMC).
Application of this technology should increase the range of electric vehicles without recharging. According to the Solid Power, this figure will reach 482 miles (766 kilometers) forsolid-state batteries, while it is 266 miles (428 kilometers) for lithium-ion batteries. Safety should be another advantage: elimination of highly flammable liquid electrolyte would drastically reduce a battery fire risk. However, commercial production of solid-state batteries has not been established yet. In 2019, the Solid Power commissioned a pilot site for production of prototypes with the capacity of 2 and 20 ampere-hours, respectively, and in 2021, the company attracted $ 135 million from the BMW Group and the Ford Motor Company, as well as investment company Volta Energy Technologies specialising in investments in the energy storage projects.
The next step was last year’s opening of a new site in Colorado, which increased by 25 times the production capacity of the materials for solid electrolyte, which will make possible getting down to the production of batteries with the capacity of 100 ampere hours in 2022. The Solid Power plans to begin mass deliveries of new batteries for the electric vehicles manufacturers in 2024. According to the company’s forecast, the global number of solid-state batteries at transport will reach 800 thousand units by 2028. For comparison, as it follows from the data of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the number of electric vehicles on batteries during 2015 – 2020 increased from 728 thousand to 6.85 million units.
The alternatives to lithium-ion batteries are used not only at transport but also in the power industry. The Startup Gelion founded by Thomas Maschmeier, a Sydney University professor has developed new zinc-bromine batteries that use the reaction between bromine and zinc to generate electricity, and a gel solution of zinc bromide to provide battery conductivity. The innovation will be tested in 2022 at the solar power plant in the province of Navarra, the north of Spain.