Battery technology has come a long way over the years. Devices like drones and smartphones would not be practical without advanced modern battery technology.
Still, the batteries could always be better.
Solid state batteries seem to be the next big breakthrough and the products that use them are just around the corner. This means that now is the perfect time to become familiar with what they are and why they are important.
What does “solid state” mean?
Whether it is an acid lead battery or disposable, disposable alkaline or lithium polymer batteries in a telephone, they all use a liquid electrolyte. The electrolyte is a conductive substance that connects the two internal terminals of the battery. Electrons flow through the electrolyte, allowing the battery to accumulate an electric charge or discharge it.
A solid state battery uses a solid electrolyte, instead of the traditional liquid electrolyte. This is the only fundamental difference between the two battery technologies. It sounds simple enough, but engineers and scientists have been struggling for decades to get a solid material that can act as an electrolyte.
What’s wrong with solid state batteries?
Various materials, such as ceramics and lithium metals, offer potential as solid-state electrolytes. The problem is that the ceramic approach has resulted in low battery performance. Lithium metals are promising, but present a fatal defect. As the battery is charged and discharged, the metal “dendrites” grow through the electrolyte. The battery can short circuit and become a hazard.
The search for practical and economically viable solutions to these problems has been the mission of several companies and research teams in recent years. Now this work is about to bear fruit.
Why go through all these problems? Let’s look at the advantages that solid state batteries promise over traditional ones.
Batteries store large amounts of energy and there is always the danger that this energy may be released uncontrollably. When this happens, it can mean fire, explosions and other unwanted results. Solid state batteries, assuming the dendrite problem is solved, promise to be safer and more stable. On the one hand, they are not flammable, so battery fires should be a thing of the past.
This is important not only for electric vehicles such as cars and drones, but also for personal electronics such as smartphones and laptops. Many people are injured each year by battery fires in their electronic devices. As a result, entire houses have been burned.
Modern lithium batteries can loads at impressive speeds, but it still takes time to fill up. There is a limit to how much energy you can pour into a traditional lithium ion battery before it all goes sideways. Solid state batteries promise to charge up to six times faster than the batteries we currently use. This means that you charge the phone completely empty in five minutes or so charging an 80% electric car in 15.
Energy capacity and size
Lithium-ion batteries currently have the highest energy density of any type of battery sold to the public. However, it is still many times less dense than gasoline. While solid state batteries don’t carry batteries to the height of gas, they promise more than double the energy density per volume.
In other words, if you change the phone’s battery using a solid state model, it could theoretically run twice as long without increasing in size. This is another big selling point for electric vehicles, which are not as popular as they could be, thanks to the anxiety of the range.
Shelf life and durability
Most current lithium-ion batteries begin to degrade after about 500 full charge-discharge cycles. After this point, the file the battery begins to lose its capacity until it can barely charge. On smartphones, which now usually have sealed batteries, this puts a hard limit on the life of the device. Solid state batteries promise to significantly increase this limit. Up to five times.
Therefore, when a typical phone battery of daily use can begin to degrade after two or three years, a solid state battery would remain at its nominal capacity until fifteen years. In electric cars, where replacing batteries is extremely expensive, this could have a dramatic effect on the cost of owning this class of vehicles.
Weaknesses of the solid state battery
If all this sounds too good to be true, there are some warnings in technology. Some of these have yet to be resolved before achieving widespread adoption of solid state battery technology.
- Cost he is perhaps the greatest enemy. Research teams and start-up companies are working hard to make the production process of these batteries cheaper and scalable. Some companies claim to be close, but we won’t know how successful they have been until we see the actual prices of the products with these batteries.
- These batteries too fight at low temperatures. Therefore, solutions that involve isolating them or keeping them at a good operating temperature are part of the challenge.
When can I buy solid state batteries?
Toyota plans to sell electric vehicles with solid state batteries already 2021. Both Solid Power and QuantumScape aim to launch batteries for vehicles in 2022 and 2024, respectively. This means that in the next two years we could be right at the beginning of a battery revolution.
This is even before we get into the possibilities of using graphene. This wonderful material promises even better batteries, whether they contain liquid or solid electrolytes. Getting graphene to play ball has kept scientists and engineers out for longer than expected, but you can now buy one. graphite hybrid powerbank Right Now. Really, the future is here.