Sandia National Laboratories engineers, examine a lithium-ion battery in front of a specially designed battery testing chamber.

Safer, More Powerful Batteries for Electric Cars, Power Grid

March 15, 2022 8:00 am Published by

Solid-state batteries with little liquid electrolyte are safer than lithium-ion batteries

Solid-state batteries, currently used in small electronic devices like smart watches, have the potential to be safer and more powerful than lithium-ion batteries for things such as electric cars and storing energy from solar panels for later use. However, several technical challenges remain before solid-state batteries can become widespread.

A Sandia National Laboratories-led study, published on March 7 in the scientific journal Joule, tackled one of these challenges — a long-held assumption that adding some liquid electrolyte to improve performance would make solid-state batteries unsafe. Instead, the research team found that in many cases solid-state batteries with a little liquid electrolyte were safer than their lithium-ion counterparts. They also found, if the battery were to short-circuit, releasing all its stored energy, the theoretically super-safe, all-solid-state battery could put out a dangerous amount of heat.

“Solid-state batteries have the potential to be safer, and they have the potential for higher energy density,” said Alex Bates, a Sandia postdoctoral researcher who led the study for the paper. “This means, for electric vehicles, you could go farther in between charges, or need fewer batteries for grid-scale energy storage. The addition of liquid electrolyte may help bridge the gap to commercialization, without sacrificing safety.”

Read the complete news release.

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