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solid-state lithium

New method resolves materials joining in solid-state lithium batteries

Thu, 11/25/2021 - 09:26 -- Vic
ORNL lithium interface improvement

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a scalable, low-cost method to improve the joining of materials in lithium-ion solid-state batteries.

The team used an electrochemical pulse to eliminate the voids that form when joining layers of lithium metal anode material with a solid electrolyte material; in this case the ceramic garnet-type electrolyte LALZO (Li6.25Al0.25La3Zr2O12).

The development resolves one of the challenges in manufacturing solid-state batteries, namely the difficulty of getting materials to properly join and remain stable during repeated cycling.

Scientists studying methods to overcome this contact impedance characteristic, have so far focused on applying high pressures, but that process can lead to shorting and would need to be re-applied periodically to extend the battery’s life using an expensive aftermarket application.

Applying short, high-voltage pulses led to increased contact at the interface of the materials while resulting in no detrimental effects, as detailed in the journal ACS Energy Letters.

The non-destructive, low-cost pulsing method results in a local heat-generating current that surrounds the lithium metal-encased voids and causes them to dissipate without degradation.

This approach could be scaled to allow the solid-state battery to be removed and refreshed, bringing it back to nearly the original capacity.

Ilias Belharouak, co-lead on the project and head of the Electrification Section at ORNL, said: “This method will enable an all-solid-state architecture without applying an extrinsic force that can damage the cell and is not practical to deploy during the battery’s usage.

"In the process we’ve developed, the battery can be manufactured as normal and then a pulse can be applied to rejuvenate and refresh the interface if the battery becomes fatigued.”

ORNL’s multidisciplinary energy storage team is working to scale up its breakthroughs to a working-scale solid-state battery system.

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Solid-state lithium-ion maker QuantumScape secures $100M funding after hitting VW’s technical tests

Thu, 04/29/2021 - 10:59 -- Vic

Volkswagen Group of America Investments will invest a further $100 million into QuantumScape after the solid-state lithium-ion battery developer successfully met a key technical milestone.

The milestone required Volkswagen to successfully test the latest generation of QuantumScape’s solid-state lithium-metal cells in their laboratories in Germany. 

The funding is the second and final closing under last year’s stock purchase agreement between the companies that provided for a $200 million investment. 

The closing will occur following expiration of the waiting period or other clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

The companies will work jointly to bring solid-state lithium-metal battery technology into industrialised mass-production, said Jagdeep Singh, co-founder and CEO of QuantumScape.

The companies formed a joint venture in 2018 to work together on solid-state batteries with Volkswagen investing $100 million at the time.

In January, QuantumScape’s share price tumbled by around 41% following a report on Seeking Alpha website by Dr Brian Morin, CEO of Soteria Battery Innovation Group, that questioned the technology’s capabilities.

The stock price fall led to two separate lawsuits in the US. 

This month also saw Celina Mikolajczak join the company’s board as an independent director. 

Mikolajczak is vice-president of engineering & battery technology at Panasonic Energy of North America.

She has also served as director of engineering focused on battery development for Uber Technologies, and senior manager for cell quality and materials engineering at Tesla Motors— helping to develop the battery cells and packs for Tesla’s Model S, Model X, Model 3, and Roadster Refresh.

On 2 April, QuantumScape Battery, a subsidiary of QuantumScape, leased 196,600 square feet building in San Jose, California, US, according to Bay Area news outlet the Mercury News.

The research and manufacturing site building more than doubles the space that the company occupies in the Bay Area at its 87,100 square feet headquarters on Technology Drive in San Jose.

The lease is scheduled to begin in December and is stated to expire in September 2032.

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MIT's solid-state battery electrode materials breakthrough

Thu, 02/20/2020 - 17:00 -- Vic
MIT anodes-cathodes

MIT engineers have developed electrodes to avoid the stresses that cause component fracturing in solid-state batteries.

Solid-state batteries need a mechanism that allows for expansion and contraction during charge/discharge cycles, without changing the electrode's outer dimensions.

A new electrode concept from the laboratory of Ju Li, the Battelle Energy Alliance Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering could meet that need.

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US-Korean partnership for novel lithium technologies

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

PolyPlus and SK Innovation are to jointly develop “the first rechargeable lithium metal battery with a conductive glass separator”.

The partners’ initial goal will be to produce and test prototype cells using California-based PolyPlus’ solid-state lithium anode laminate, which is describe as having “the potential to double the energy density and cycle life of rechargeable batteries”.

Under the agreement, financial terms of which have note been disclosed, South Korea’s SK Innovation will provide development funding, and will receive an option to make “a significant investment in Polypus” and an option to negotiate a licence to PolyPlus technology for use in electric vehicles.

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