Solid state batteries are a type of battery that uses solid electrodes and electrolytes, instead of the liquid ones used in traditional batteries.
These batteries have several advantages over traditional batteries, including higher energy density, longer life span, and faster charging times.
Additionally, solid state batteries are safer than traditional batteries, as they are less likely to catch fire or explode.
Solid state batteries are already being used in some electric vehicles, and their use is expected to grow in the future as electric vehicle sales increase.
The difference between Solid State Batteries and lithium-Ion batteries
To be able to discuss competently about solid-state batteries, it’s necessary to first grasp how lithium-Ion batteries operate in detail and the key distinctions between them and this new technology.
All Lithium-Ion batteries contain two electrodes, which are compounds that can accept the incorporation of lithium Ions into their structure.
The positive terminal, is a cathode made of cathodic material (for example, LFP, NMC, or LMO) and the current collector.
An anode, is the negative pole of the battery made of anodic material (for example, carbon or graphite) and the current collector.
The central separator, which is a thin layer of plastic polymer (polyethylene or polypropylene) that serves as a mechanical separator between the anode and cathode and acts as an insulator, which is located in between the anode and the cathode.
An electrolyte is the medium in which ions migrate; an organic liquid with a lithium salt content.
The electrolyte fills all of the cell’s volume, soaking the electrodes and allowing the lithium Ions to flow by acting as a link between the cathode and anode.
In a contemporary lithium-Ion battery, the separator serves solely as insulation and is entirely immersed in the liquid electrolyte that submerges everything within the cell and becomes a true medium through which lithium Ions flow between the cathode and anode, where the anode is composed of a graphite structure.
The Ions penetrate the electrolyte and insert themselves in the crystal structures of the anode and cathode electrodes (structures with empty cavities inside where the lithium Ions can fit as they are tiny particles).
The internal structure of a solid-state cell, on the other hand, is significantly different because all of its components are solid.
The electrolyte in traditional lithium batteries is a liquid, whereas solid-state cells are made up of a cathode, separator, and anode in solid state.
The anode is a cathode (or positive electrode), which can be produced from the same materials as a lithium-Ion battery (for example, LFP, NMC, LMO, and so on).
The separator, often ceramic or polymeric, serves as both the electrolyte and the insulator.
The anode is made of lithium metal (pure lithium).
What is the mechanism behind a solid-state battery’s operation?
When the battery is charging, lithium ions flow from the cathode through the atoms that make up the separator and into between the separator itself and the anode’s electrical connection, creating a solid layer of pure lithium.
The anode in this case would only be made of lithium particles, which is less than the graphite structure in a lithium-Ion battery.
What are Solid Sate Battery Technologies current strengths?
In theory, solid-state batteries appear to offer a lot of advantages over the current models on the market; in fact, solid electrolytes appear to provide higher energy density, a longer lifespan, and greater safety in a smaller size.
However, it is crucial to note that this technology is still in its infancy, and thus far, lithium-Ion batteries have been the most effective on the market, with several chemistries employed for various purposes readily accessible and produced in large quantities.
The advantages of solid-state batteries
Solid-state batteries do not contain a liquid electrolyte, which is one of the most dangerous components in terms of safety because it is volatile and therefore more combustible in lithium-Ion batteries.
Furthermore, this is compensated by a more durable separator layer made of a material that is thermally more resilient, because it contains ceramic particles with various additives.
This ensures that short circuits do not occur, even if the cells are abused or deteriorate, increasing their inherent safety.
Another advantage in terms of safety is the increased resistance to dendrites, or sharp, uneven growth of lithium that occurs when electrons travel from the cathode to the anode.
Lithium, on the other hand, does not flow uniformly and often congregates together to form clusters of points, which grow and can even pierce the separator in certain circumstances.
Solid separators, on the other hand, are more resistant to piercing from dendrites and therefore avoid probable short circuits and cell aging.
The Energy Density
The use of a pure metal anode promotes a significant increase in energy density, which is made possible by the higher intrinsic safety.
This is linked to the removal of the graphite anode, which houses the Ions as they migrate in lithium-Ion batteries.
During the charge and discharge, only the ions remain in a solid-state battery, leaving only a large, heavy component that does not actively contribute to the generation of energy.
According to the most recent research, solid-state batteries have a 2.5-2.6 increase in energy density over current lithium-Ion technology, resulting in a smaller and lighter battery.
This is undoubtedly a major step forward for electric vehicles, which would benefit from increased range and a lighter weight, but let’s keep in mind that we won’t know for sure until this technology is ready.
Ultra-fast charging times
The newest studies have shown that solid-state batteries are capable of charging 6 times faster than the current technologies on the market.
This number, however, is also tenuous and will be influenced by the development of this new technology.
Solid-state batteries that charge quickly already exist, but to the disadvantage of other important criteria for achieving good performance.
We must compare this advantage with other important criteria to determine which is the finest option, including price.
What is beyond doubt is that liquid electrolytes are more susceptible to heat, while solid electrolytes, on the other hand, become more high-performance at higher temperatures and would thus support their performance during fast charging, an operation phase that typically generates much higher temperatures.
Some people think that a solid-state electrolyte, because it is not liquid, can enable a more rapid and easier manufacturing procedure using less material and energy, but while this logic makes sense, it has yet to be proved and will only be when this technology is widely commercialised. However, we can undoubtedly state that at the moment, filling a cell with the electrolyte takes a long time.
The cell must be built empty and there must be a hole later on so that the electrolyte may be added.
You will then have to wait for the electrolyte to completely drain and then refill it to ensure it is at the proper level.
It is therefore unquestionably an important phase in the manufacturing process, and with solid-state technology, there may be a significant improvement, but we must wait for genuine production of these cells to draw valid conclusions.
What would be the main application of Solid State Batteries?
Despite the fact that solid-state batteries now have several issues to overcome, their arrival on the market is almost certain, and we can anticipate their widespread use in any sectors where energy density is a constraint because the room presently does not have enough to store all of the electricity required.
Solid-state batteries will double the range and are now being seen as the future of the automotive industry, as well as more generally speaking, of all transportation.
This new technology is also attracting the attention of companies in other sectors, such as the industrial equipment industry and the electric vehicle sector.
Solid-state battery technology, when it is perfected and mass-produced, might also be a game changing moment for the industry.
When will Solid State batteries be available on the Electric market?
Batteries utilising solid-state technology are not entirely new!
They’re already being utilised in tiny gadgets like as smartphones and laptops, where they’re used for a few hours each day.
They may even be found in vehicles such as buses that are suitable for intense usage and can run continuously for the whole day despite being hot and functioning without any difficulties.
As a result, low volumes of solid-state technology are already in use, for example;
- Batteries that function in controlled temperature environments
- Batteries for aerospace applications
- Semi-solid or solid-state hybrid batteries
What is certain is that real solid-state batteries for automotive applications are still in their early stages, with major hurdles yet remaining, which are preventing them from being mass produced.
However, many automobile manufacturers are interested in it, such as Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and a variety of others that are putting significant resources into researching and developing the technology.
Want to know more about EV’s?
We offer a variety of courses that can give you the information you need about electric and hybrid vehicles.
Hybrid Training Course, Level 1 – Raise Awareness
Hybrid/ EV Training Course, Level 2 – Light Vehicles
Hybrid Training Course, Level 2 – Buses
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Hybrid Training Course Level 3 – Cars
The Level 1 Hybrid and Electric Training Course, is to raise awareness of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles. This course is aimed at anyone that may come into contact with Hybrid and Electric Vehicles.
Level 2 Hybrid and Electric Light Vehicle Training Course, Level 2 HGV Training Course and Level 2 Buses Training Course. The Level 2 course is aimed at mechanics and car valeters.
The Level 3 Hybrid and Electric Training Course, is aimed at technicians and mechanics.
Information about our Hybrid Courses and what we will cover:
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It is anticipated that Level 3 will be the minimum requirement in the future.
Best practice dictates that each technical staff member should be qualified to at least level 2 (service technician).
Diagnostic technicians should be qualified to level 3 (for fault diagnosis and removal, test and refit of high voltage systems).
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