Could We Finally Be Close to A Major Breakthrough In Solid State Battery?
Axios reports that some of the world’s biggest industrial companies including Samsung, Japan’s Hitachi and an alliance of auto giants consisting of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi have collectively invested $65 million in Massachusetts-based Ionic Materials. The little-known startup claims to have developed a new composition of matter — a liquid crystal polymer — that can make solid-state batteries a viable alternative to lithium-ion and other high-energy storage technologies that are currently used. If Ionic’s claims including that of their battery being safer, offering better performance and having higher energy density than traditional lithium ion batteries (LBOs) available today are independently validated, they could solve most of the main problems that persist with solid state research.
Specifically speaking, Ionic’s researchers so far have claimed three major breakthroughs. First, they assert that lithium ions, as key components of the battery’s electrochemistry, move as fast if not faster through Ionic’s polymer than they would through a conventional liquid electrolyte system which needless to say, plays a vital role in the continued operation of the battery. This sounds somewhat contradictory since the polymer is a solid, but if validated, this claim would address a major concern associated with the creation of working solid-state batteries.
Another Ionic assertion is that unlike previous solid-state efforts which have been quite complex and expensive, the startups’ polymer works at an impressive 5 volts and can be manufactured simply and cheaply. Third, they’ve stated that all of this happens at room temperature, while most materials in solid-state research operate at about 60° C (140° F).
What are the benefits of solid-state batteries?
Ionic’s technological approach has the potential to address many of the thermal and electrochemical stability concerns that are associated with current electrolyte systems in LBOs available today……