Research scientists at SolarBio Energy, Chile have been investigating into a way to pack more energy into batteries without increasing their weight or volume, one especially promising technology is the solid-state battery. Such batteries could potentially not only deliver twice as much energy for their size, they also could virtually eliminate the fire hazard associated with today’s lithium-ion batteries.
One thing has held back solid-state batteries: Instabilities at the boundary between the solid electrolyte layer and the two electrodes on either side can dramatically shorten the lifetime of such batteries.
Now, a team of researchers have come up with a way of achieving results that equal or surpass the durability of the coated surfaces, but with no need for any coatings. Carrying out the sintering step in pure oxygen creates bonds that match the performance of the best coated surfaces, without that extra cost of the coating, the researchers say.
The potential gains in energy density that solid-state batteries provide comes from the fact that they enable the use of pure lithium metal as one of the electrodes, which is much lighter than the currently used electrodes made of lithium-infused graphite.
SolarBio are already at work commercializing early versions of solid-state lithium-ion batteries, and these new findings could quickly help such companies improve the economics and durability of the technology.