Simple tweak creates safer, more efficient solid-state batteries

Simple tweak creates safer, more efficient solid-state batteries
Comparison of the new electrolyte (blue) with the old (gray)
Comparison of the new electrolyte (blue) with the old (gray)
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Comparison of the new electrolyte (blue) with the old (gray)
Comparison of the new electrolyte (blue) with the old (gray)
The new electrolyte is possible thanks to a simple change to the production process
The new electrolyte is possible thanks to a simple change to the production process

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has come up with a small tweak that could have big consequences. By making a small change to how a type of solid-state battery is made, the scientists managed to eliminate defects in the electrolyte film, opening the way to safer and more efficient batteries.

Solid-state batteries have a lot of promise. Unlike current lithium-ion batteries, solid-state ones don't contain flammable liquids, which are a major drawback as illustrated by stories of laptops and electric cars bursting into flames. Solid-state batteries are also less toxic, have higher energy densities, charge faster, and survive more recharge cycles without degenerating.

The problem is that manufacturing such batteries is difficult and expensive compared to liquid batteries, with one major challenge being the defects in the electrolyte films that are key to the batteries. Tiny bubbles formed in the film prevent ions from moving between the electrodes, slowing down charging and general operations.

One electrolyte film is made from antiperovskite (Li2OHCl), where pellets of the material are pressed together into sheets. These often produce undesirable defects that reduce efficiency.

To overcome this, the Oak Ridge team added the step of heating the press and then letting the electrolyte cool under pressure. The result was a film free from bubbles and higher in surface nitrogen enrichment that was also almost 1,000 times more conductive, showed a close to 50% improvement in the critical current density, and better lithiophilicity, which is a key factor in solid-state battery stability.

According to the researchers, the new tweak not only improves performance, it also opens the door to being able to process solid electrolytes on an industrial scale that are more reliable because engineers will have more control over the process.

"It’s the same material – you’re just changing how you make it, while improving the battery performance on a number of fronts," said lead researcher Marm Dixit.

The research was published in the ACS Energy Letters.

Source: ORLN

Serious research from a fantastic lab (and no, they are not a nuclear weapons facility)
Mark Hentz
I wonder how friendly this is to being done on a large scale.
Does anyone know how many if any of the myriad of battery improvements reported on by New Atlas have in fact been implemented in the real world? If so, what are we the public to look for to use?
Is the process too slow to be commercially viable? If it took a minute per square cm of electrolyte, with fairly expensive equipment, it's not going to sell.
Expanded Viewpoint
But regardless of how fantastical these new batteries might be, they all still need to be recharged, and so far as I know, no one has yet invented a magical spigot to tap off some of the energy of the Aetherium (atmospheric continuum) so we don't have to burn Carbon based fuels to get it. We are just about maxxed out on hydro, and wind and solar power are not reliable enough. Every other mode of generation is not sustainable (green) for one reason or another. And then we get to what do we do with the batteries when their service life is used up? Is it economical and safe to recycle them?
Yeah, that was not just a light drizzle on the EV parade there, it was a huge flood that drowned many people!!
Try this one simple tweak to create safer, more efficient solid-state batteries, big lithium doesn't want you to know about.
@Expanded Viewpoint: I have 37 kWh of PV self-installed on the walls and roof of my house. It lets me charge my EV and all the rest to make my household carbon negative. If I spent a lot of time posting here I would haven't managed that.