New research could usher in a new era of solid state batteries

Although the transition to renewable energy is a high priority, there is also a need to develop energy storage equipment to climb low production cycles. Currently, lithium-ion batteries are our best bet, but they cannot serve very high energy requirements. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, in collaboration with LG Energy Solutions, may have solved our requirement for energy-dense batteries by developing solid battery with silicone anode.

Lithium-ion batteries use graphite coated with copper foil as their anodes or negative electrode. Although this system works well, future applications such as flight with electric drive and energy storage for networks requires high energy density batteries. Scientists around the world are working to solve this problem, and ubiquitous silicon is a potential answer.

Theoretically, silicon as an anode in a lithium-ion battery can deliver 10 times the energy capacity that graphite currently offers. Scientists have known this for decades and try to use silicon in batteries just to see that they are doing poorly. Silicon reacts with the liquid electrolytes in batteries and even expands and contracts during charge and discharge cycles. This leads to a loss of capacity over a period of time, taking away the advantage that silicon offers in the first place.

To deal with this, the research team led by Professor Shirley Meng of UC San Diego replaced the liquid electrolyte with a solid sulfide-based electrolyte. In addition, they also removed the carbon and polymeric binders that previous researchers used with silicon anodes, thus completely eliminating the side effects between the anode and the electrolyte, which also led to a loss of capacity earlier.

The results of the study will be published in the September 24 issue of the journal Science.

“The hard silicon approach overcomes many of the limitations of conventional batteries,” said Darren HS Tan, the first author of the article. “It is an exciting opportunity for us to meet market demands for more bulk energy, reduced costs and safer batteries, especially for grid storage,” Tan is also the CEO of the start-up company UNIGRID Battery, which will license the technology. for solid state devices silicone batteries. LG Energy Solutions, a research partner, has plans to mass-produce solid state batteries until 2027

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