Energy

Samsung reveals long-range, solid-state, EV battery prototype

Samsung reveals long-range, so...
Researchers from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) and the Samsung R&D Institute Japan (SRJ) have designed high-performance, long-lasting all-solid-state batteries
Researchers from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) and the Samsung R&D Institute Japan (SRJ) have designed high-performance, long-lasting all-solid-state batteries
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Researchers from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) and the Samsung R&D Institute Japan (SRJ) have designed high-performance, long-lasting all-solid-state batteries
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Researchers from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) and the Samsung R&D Institute Japan (SRJ) have designed high-performance, long-lasting all-solid-state batteries
Yuichi Aihara, Principal Engineer from SRJ, Yong-Gun Lee, Principal Researcher and Dongmin Im, Master from SAIT, the researchers behind Samsung's prototype solid-state battery
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Yuichi Aihara, Principal Engineer from SRJ, Yong-Gun Lee, Principal Researcher and Dongmin Im, Master from SAIT, the researchers behind Samsung's prototype solid-state battery

At 50 percent smaller by volume than a typical lithium-ion battery, Samsung's prototype solid-state pouch cells could enable 500-mile electric car ranges and cycle lives over 1,000 charges in a much safer package.

The drive towards solid-state is one of the key fronts in the battle to break through to the next generation of batteries that will power our vehicles, aircraft, devices and homes in the coming decades, provided the coronavirus doesn't send us back to using sharp rocks as tools.

Where current-gen lithium-ion batteries use liquid electrolytes, in which lithium ions float back and forth between the cathode and anode every time you charge or discharge the battery, solid-state batteries use a congealed solid that passes charges back and forth.

Eliminating the liquid electrolyte not only allows for much more dense and compact batteries with much higher capacity by volume, it also deals with heat much better. Solid-state batteries will thus require less heat evacuation equipment, meaning even less weight and bulk for an electric car to carry around, and a longer lifespan. They also don't explode or catch fire, which is a rare but deal-breaking issue with current technology.

One of the key problems thus far has been dendrite formation. Yes, that old chestnut. Lithium-metal anodes such as those typically used tend to start building up little deposits of metal over many cycles, which can form stalagmite-like protrusions that eventually push through to the point where they can begin to short out the battery and reduce its life. There are naturally also safety implications.

Researchers at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) and the Samsung R&D Institute Japan (SRJ) say they've successfully sidestepped this problem by replacing the lithium metal anode with a 5-micrometer-thick silver-carbon composite layer. Using a solid sulfide electrolyte and a high-nickel layered oxide cathode, the team found this new design "effectively regulate[d] lithium deposition, which leads to a genuinely long electrochemical cyclability."

Yuichi Aihara, Principal Engineer from SRJ, Yong-Gun Lee, Principal Researcher and Dongmin Im, Master from SAIT, the researchers behind Samsung's prototype solid-state battery
Yuichi Aihara, Principal Engineer from SRJ, Yong-Gun Lee, Principal Researcher and Dongmin Im, Master from SAIT, the researchers behind Samsung's prototype solid-state battery

Prototype pouch cells were tested at more than 900 Wh per liter, about double the density of typical liquid electrolyte cells, with a Coulombic efficiency over 99.8 percent – that is, the cells discharge 99.8 percent of the energy they're charged with. Cycle life is estimated to be over 1,000 cycles, which might sound like it's not a lot, but the team say this design would allow for 500-mile (800-km) battery packs, and thus a thousand charge cycles could represent as much as 500,000 miles (800,000 km) of driving if managed carefully – more than you'd expect from most engines.

Samsung is one of the world's best-established battery manufacturers, and is certainly in a good position to start rolling next-gen batteries out in bulk if it believes they nail the brief. For now, the team says it plans to continue refining the designs, as well as the manufacturing technologies that need to be put in place to get them moving in bulk.

Price will, of course, be a huge factor in the success of any coming battery technology, as battery prices still account for a large percentage of the price of an EV. And this study says nothing of power density, which will affect both the performance of the cars involved and their ability to charge quickly. Mind you, the fact that they should deal with heat so well would lead us to believe that high charge rates might be possible without damaging or deteriorating the battery.

The research was published in Nature Energy.

Source: Samsung

8 comments
Gary Tulie
Neither power density or price would necessarily be a deal breaker. The former can be dealt with using hybrid ultracapacitors which have energy density approaching that of Li Ion batteries, and many times the power density, whilst higher price would still appeal to drone and electric aircraft markets.
sidmehta
So much progress in the electric battery area. Some of these will succeed and give us better range and faster charging times. For a trip out of town just take a rental.
bwana4swahili
" provided the coronavirus doesn't send us back to using sharp rocks as tools." Just have to get a kick at COVID-19, as if it will even come close to sending us back to caveman tech!
paul314
500,000 miles? Sounds as if the charge packs could last for several car bodies.
highlandboy
Of course the most important criteria for mobile batteries is power per mass. It is of little benefit if there is double the power for the size if it weighs 3 times as much.
Peter Davies
Erratum. A coulombic efficiency of 99.8% does NOT mean an overall efficiency of 99.8% defined as energy out divided by energy in. Overall wfficiency depends much more on average terminal voltage on discharge divided by average terminal voltage on charge. Expect something like 80-90% for this. Most rechargeable batteries and electrchemical processes have a high coulomb efficiency over 99%. A low heat loss on charge and discharge is encouraging, as this is where the losses end up. Losses can be controlled by limiting charge and discharge currents and not charging to 100%. Topping up a battery leads to a high charging over-voltage towards the end, more heating and lower efficiency for this part of the charging cycle.
Aross
Now if only they put these in an on-the-go swap-able package so travelers can just pop in a replacement instead of waiting for them to recharge that would be ideal.
Mark K.
Home battery walls ... made out of solid state battery bricks!