Solid State Battery

Solid State Battery: The Future of Energy Storage


Solid state battery replace the liquid electrolyte found in conventional lithium-ion batteries with a solid electrolyte. This solid electrolyte allows ions to flow between the anode and cathode but not electrons, completing the circuit. Solid electrolytes are typically made from ceramics or polymers with high ionic conductivity but low electronic conductivity.

Advantages over Conventional Batteries

Solid state battery offer several advantages over the liquid electrolyte lithium-ion batteries commonly used today:

Increased Energy Density

The solid electrolyte allows for denser electrode packaging which increases the overall energy density of solid state batteries. This means they can store more energy in the same volume compared to liquid electrolyte batteries, extending the range of electric vehicles or power many more devices from a single charge. Increased energy density is one of the most sought after improvements for next-gen batteries.

Improved Safety

Replacing the flammable liquid electrolyte with a non-flammable solid eliminates the fire risk associated with lithium-ion battery thermal runaway events. Solid State Battery are stable even under high temperatures and do not leak or spill if damaged. This makes solid state batteries significantly safer to use and transport than conventional batteries prone to fires.

Longer Cycle Life

The solid electrolyte interface layers that form between the electrodes and solid electrolyte are more stable than those in liquid electrolyte batteries. This provides better protection against capacity fade over many charge/discharge cycles. Early testing indicates solid state batteries could potentially double or triple the cycle life of today’s lithium-ion batteries.

Faster Charging

Ion transport through the Solid State Battery is faster than liquid electrolytes, allowing for much quicker charging times comparable to gasoline fill-ups. This improved power delivers the promise of electric vehicles that charge in minutes instead of hours.

Enabling New Battery Chemistry

The rigid structure of solid electrolytes also enables the use of anode and cathode chemistries not compatible with liquid electrolytes like lithium metal anodes. These new chemistries could unlock even higher energy densities and performances beyond current lithium-ion capabilities.

Challenges to Commercialization

While promising major improvements, several challenges must still be overcome for solid state batteries to reach the mass market:

Interface Issues

Developing durable, high ion conducting interfaces between the solid electrolyte and electrodes remains a major hurdle. Interfaces tend to degrade over cycling, deteriorating performance. Extensive research is underway to design interface layers and electrode coatings that last.

Electrolyte Conductivity

Improving ionic conductivity of solid electrolytes, especially at room and low temperatures, is critical. Conductivity must be on par with liquid electrolytes for feasibility in real world applications. New polymer and ceramic electrolyte materials with optimized structures are being explored.

Scale Up Challenges

Current solid state battery prototypes have small sample sizes and voltages well below commercial targets. Technology and manufacturing advances are required to reliably produce large format, high voltage solid state battery cells at an industrial scale. Partnerships with battery makers aim to solve scale up challenges.

Cost Considerations

Utilizing new materials like ceramics or advanced polymers comes at a higher initial cost than liquid electrolytes. Production techniques and economies of scale must drive costs down to achieve widespread adoption.

The Road Ahead

Despite remaining issues, solid state battery have generated widespread private sector investment and appear close to commercialization timelines. Companies like QuantumScape, Solid Power and Ilika are forging partnerships with automobile manufacturers to develop next-generation solid state battery technologies for electric vehicles. Meanwhile, consumer electronics makers like Apple and Samsung are investing in solid state battery for portable devices. With continued progress on addressing scientific and manufacturing hurdles, solid state batteries could enter the market by late 2020s with the potential to transform industries reliant on battery power. Widespread domestic manufacturing of advanced batteries would help drive further costs reductions and energy independence. The solid state battery promises an energy storage revolution with far-reaching economic and environmental impacts.

1.  Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it