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The Holy Grail of Batteries is Here

ByAnswers Herald Editor

Jun 27, 2022
Holy Grail of Batteries

For the energy storage world, the solid-state battery is the Holy Grail. It is expected to be cheaper than traditional lithium-ion batteries, have a higher energy density, charge faster, and last longer. As of now, however, it still exists only in laboratories. In spite of this, there are hundreds of companies and research facilities around the world working on its development. Here are some of them:

ProLogium’s lithium-metal battery

Mercedes-Benz has signed a collaboration agreement with ProLogium, a Taiwanese battery company that focuses on developing next-generation batteries. The partnership will help the firm develop lithium metal anodes and bipolar technology. The battery technology is expected to improve vehicle ranges while maintaining safety and performance. It will also help the automaker move toward an electric future. This announcement will help the company secure a place in the global automotive market.

The company has already signed up commercial accounts, including BMW and Mercedes-Benz. A major scale-up is in the works, including the deployment of $326 million in financing last October. Prologium plans to use the money to expand production in the US, Europe, and Asia. Another notable customer is Mercedes-Benz, which has already indicated an interest in the solid-state battery. Although the company is still in the early stages, the company is on track for a fast transition into mass-market EVs.

Solid-state batteries are becoming more common in vehicles. They can increase energy density up to 40 per cent and double the range. They also improve safety by being virtually fire-proof. The hard ceramic layer is designed to prevent dendrite punctures, which can cause lithium-ion batteries to catch fire. Furthermore, they can charge much faster. In the past, ProLogium floated a 12-minute charge time.

Nissan’s development of solid-state battery

One of the newest technologies being developed by the automotive industry is the solid-state battery. These batteries contain more energy per unit mass than current lithium-ion batteries. They also have shorter charge-discharge cycles. Solid-state batteries are more efficient and cheaper to produce than conventional battery systems. Nissan hopes to launch series production in 2028 and lower the cost of these batteries to around $75 per kWh. In the end, this would be the same price as gas-powered vehicles.

In Japan, Nissan Motor has unveiled a prototype production line for laminated all-solid-state battery cells. The automaker hopes to sell these battery cells in vehicles starting in fiscal 2028. The prototype factory will be developed at Nissan’s Yokohama car plant and will allow the carmaker to develop and study the materials, design, and manufacturing processes necessary for commercial production. Successful commercialization of these batteries is essential for the automotive industry to continue to compete in the global auto market.

Other carmakers have taken the lead in this effort and are working to develop all-solid-state batteries as well. While they are a far cry from Nissan’s plan, other automakers are focusing on solid-state battery development for the future of their vehicles. Volkswagen, for example, trusts QuantumScape to make its batteries, while Toyota is looking to partner with Pansonic. The advantages of solid-state batteries are similar to those of traditional batteries: lower cost, increased energy density, and longer range. Nissan and NASA have even formed a partnership to develop the technology to further speed development.

Harvard’s paper-thin battery

A new lithium-metal battery developed by researchers at Harvard University can hold its charge for up to 10,000 cycles, far longer than the current record of 1,000. The battery is an improved version of a coin cell, which can already be found in hearing aids and watches. Although the battery isn’t likely to be used commercially, it could be used in autonomous drone robot insects, where bulky power options are a big hindrance.

A lithium-ion battery crafted using a 3D printer can be as thin as a grain of sand. These batteries are expected to enable miniaturized medical implants, tiny bots and even tiny electronics. Scientists at Harvard and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have developed a 3D printer capable of creating these batteries. Researchers used a 30-micron nozzle to print two comb-like electrodes one atop the other. The finished product was then placed in a solution of electrolytes and charged.

Solid-state batteries have been a goal of scientists for decades and hold the potential to create a paradigm shift in energy consumption. More researchers are reaching milestones in developing solid-state battery prototypes, but there is still a long way to go before mass-producing them. Harvard researchers recently announced a new lithium-metal battery that appears to be the future of energy storage. They hope to make it commercially available soon.

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