Researchers double energy density of solid-state battery

Belgian researchers predict a solid state battery future for electric vehicles. (Imec)

A solid nanocomposite electrolyte from researchers at imec in Belgium promises to push solid-state Li-metal battery cells beyond Li-ion battery performance in the next five years.

Imec announced the innovation last week at the European Electric Vehicle Batteries Summit in Berlin, saying it has recently doubled the energy density in its Li-metal cell and will begin a manufacturing pilot soon.

Such a cell would be good news for extending the range of electric vehicles.

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Imec researchers have developed the solid electrolyte to provide high conductivity.  Last week, imec announced it had fabricated an improved battery with energy density of 400 Watt hours/liter (Wh/l), with a charging speed of two hours-- a record and double the result of a year ago.

Imec wants to surpass wet Li-ion battery performance and reach 1000 Wh/l with a charging speed of less than 30 minutes by 2024.

The new electrolyte is applied to dense powder electrodes as a liquid via a wet chemical coating, then converted to a solid when it is in place. That process allows the liquid to fill all the nooks and crannies to make maximum contact.

The pilot manufacturing process includes a 300 square meter assembly line at the EnergyVille campus in Genk, Belgium. Researchers said that a conventional production line is well-suited for processing the new electrolyte, which would mean that manufacturers don’t need expensive investments to switch from wet- to solid-electrolyte cells.

“The new battery demonstrates that our breakthrough electrolyte can be integrated in performance batteries,” said Philippe Vereecken, scientific direct at imec.

Imec’s battery R&D is meant as a collaborative program that is open to interested parties.

Imec also conducts research in nanoelectronics, digital and energy tech, microchips and software.

In addition to the EnergyVille research collaborative, imec also will work with the University of Hasselt to manufacture prototype solid electrolyte cells with up to 5Ah capacity.

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