Making Good on the Promise of Solid-State Batteries
Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are commonly used in portable devices and electric vehicles (EVs), but modern demands on energy storage are shifting focus to solid-state alternatives. This is a hot area of research and development with hopes to bring this technology to mass market by the early 2030s.
This article is posted on our Science Snippets Blog
The Promise of Solid-State Batteries
Solid-state batteries are still in the basic research phase, but they are generating a lot of excitement because they can potentially satisfy many of our needs for EVs and other modern consumer products, like wearable and radio-frequency identification (RFID) devices.
Battery size and weight, for example, can be a limiting factor for many of these applications. Solid state batteries, however, pack an estimated 2.5 times more energy per unit weight compared to lithium-ion batteries, so they are smaller and lighter by design. This benefit has huge implications across the board, but especially for transportation, where it allows for lighter EVs that can travel more distance on a single charge.
Safety is another big concern as the liquids used in lithium-ion batteries can be very flammable. The substances currently being used to develop solid-state batteries are believed to be non-combustible or resistant to self-ignition, providing consumers with better safety.
These benefits further translate into easier production, as fewer accommodations are needed to manage fire risk. Additionally, they enable tighter packaging, more design flexibility and lower volumetric density.
Research Leads the Way
Many research institutes and companies, especially players in the EV space, are working to make the promise of solid-state batteries a reality. But first, there are many technical and logistical issues that must be addressed to optimize for performance, safety, durability, and sustainability.
Sartorius is aiding ongoing research efforts by providing labs with robust solutions for key steps of the production process, from sample preparation to uniformity checks and moisture analysis.
All sample preparation starts with ultrapure water. Sartorius offers the Arium® Ultrapure Water Systems for producing HPLC runs with the highest analytical-grade quality. Additional sample preparation tools for chromatography, spectrometry, or electrochemistry analyses are the Cubis® II analytical and microbalances, pipettes with low-retention tips for the pipetting steps, and Minisart® syringe filters for removing all sample particulate.
Uniformity checks along the production process are important for achieving the desired battery performance. Sartorius offers high resolution integrated weigh cells for uniformity testing that is directly embedded in the production lines, and the Cubis® II line of analytical balances for uniformity testing close to the production lines. Cubis® II balances can be configured with hardware and software for every application.
The Cubis® II high-performance analytical and microbalances, as well as the MA 160 Moisture Analyzer are reliable tools for measuring the moisture content in raw materials or in the slurry. The MA 160 Moisture Analyzer can also be used to study evaporation efficiency after the drying steps or to quantify residual solvents and water in the electrode roll.
A Future Within Reach
The popularity of EVs over the last decade has fueled efforts to develop solid-state batteries that offer consumers more energy, more durability, and more safety. Given the unresolved challenges in the field, it will be a while before we see the benefits of solid-state batteries in our smartphones, wearables, and EVs. Ongoing research and development will continue to advance solid-state technologies and drive us closer to that future.