A UK-based consortium of seven organisations, including the University of Oxford, has teamed up to develop solid-state battery technology (SSB) prototypes with the automotive sector in mind.
SSBs are made with technology that uses solid electrodes and a solid electrolyte, rather than the liquid or polymer gel electrolytes found in lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries.
While the batteries may already be manufactured, their low energy density has so far prevented manufacturers from embracing the technology.
But the consortium plans to develop “highly scalable” manufacturing techniques that it believes will improve the cost-effectiveness and performance of SSBs.
There are currently fundamental scientific challenges that must be addressed before powerful SSBs can be produced, although the Faraday Institution’s SOLBAT project has made significant progress over the past three years in addressing these obstacles.
Construction of the unique facility being developed by the consortium aims to help SSB technology move out of UK university labs and produce larger cells.
A number of manufacturers, including Ford and BMW, are also researching or investing in SSB technology in the hopes that advancements will allow them to store more energy, increase driving range for electric vehicles (EVs), and improve safety thanks to a lack of flammable substances. components.
Early deployment of SSBs is expected to occur in consumer electronics, niche automotive applications and unmanned aerospace, before being used in broader EV markets.
The Faraday Institute predicts that by 2030, SSBs are likely to occupy a 7 percent share of the global consumer electronics battery market and a 4 percent share of the EV battery market.
Global SSB revenue from sales to EV manufacturers is expected to reach $8 billion by 2030 and then grow rapidly through 2040 and 2050, when the market is expected to expand. Investment Minister Lord Grimstone said:
“The collaboration between industry, government and our leading academic institutions puts the UK at the forefront of global efforts to develop innovative automotive technologies such as solid-state batteries.
“It is the work of our internationally renowned research and development base, such as that of this consortium, that will give us the tools needed to forge a strong and sustainable future for the automotive sector and our contribution to combating climate change to increase.
” In May, researchers demonstrated a stable lithium-metal solid-state battery that can be charged and discharged at least 10,000 times at high current density — far more cycles than previously demonstrated.