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University of Colorado Boulder spins off solid-state lithium-ion battery with ceramic electrolyte

Tue, 09/24/2013 - 10:54 -- Editor


The University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) has completed a technology transfer agreement for the development and commercialization of a solid-state lithium-ion rechargeable battery with ceramic electrolyte.

The solid-state lithium-ion battery uses a ceramic electrolyte to separate the metal anode from the cathode will be taken further by Solid Power LLC, a CU-Boulder spinoff company founded by Se-Hee Lee and Conrad Stoldt, both associate professors of mechanical engineering.

Lee and Stoldt are attempting to solve lithium-ion thermal runaway concerns by eliminating the liquid electrolyte. Research into the development of solid-state batteries has gone on for a couple of decades, but creating a solid electrolyte that allows ions to pass through it as easily as a liquid electrolyte is difficult.

Instead of using a solid mass of material, Lee and Stoldt created a “composite cathode,” essentially small particles of cathode material held together with solid electrolyte and infused with an additive that increases its electrical conductivity. This configuration allows ions and electrons to move more easily within the cathode.

“The real innovation is an all-solid composite cathode that is based upon an iron-sulfur chemistry that we developed at CU,” Stoldt said. “This new, low-cost chemistry has a capacity that’s nearly 10 times greater than state-of-the-art cathodes.”

Last year, Lee and Stoldt partnered with Douglas Campbell, a small-business and early-stage product development veteran, to spin out Solid Power.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity to achieve commercial success for the all solid-state rechargeable battery,” said Campbell, Solid Power’s president. “We’re actively engaging industrial commercial partners to assist in commercialization and expect to have prototype products ready for in-field testing within 18 to 24 months.”