Solid-state batteries under development with Oxford University-led consortium – E&T Magazine
A UK-based consortium of seven organisations including Oxford University has banded together to develop prototypes of solid-state battery (SSB) technology with the automotive sector in mind.
SSBs are made with technology that uses solid electrodes and a solid electrolyte, instead of the liquid or polymer gel electrolytes found in lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries.
While the batteries can already be produced, their low energy density has so far dissuaded manufacturers from embracing the technology.
But the consortium plans to develop “highly scalable” manufacturing techniques that it believes will boost the cost-effectiveness and performance of SSBs.
There are currently fundamental scientific challenges that need to be addressed before high-power SSBs can be produced, although the Faraday Institution’s SOLBAT project has made considerable progress in addressing these obstacles over the last three years.
The construction of the one-of-a-kind facility being developed by the consortium aims to help SSB technology to emerge from UK university laboratories and allow larger cells to be produced.
A number of manufacturers, including Ford and BMW, are also researching or investing in SSB technology in the hope that with advancements they will be able to store more energy, extending driving range for electric vehicles (EVs) as well as improving safety due to a lack of flammable components.
Early deployment of SSBs is expected to be in consumer electronics, niche automotive applications and unmanned aerospace, before being used in broader EV markets.