Solid state lithium battery triples capacity

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

94-year-old John Goodenough, professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and his team have developed an all-solid-state battery cell using a solid glass electrolyte.

“Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are critical for battery-driven cars to be more widely adopted. We believe our discovery solves many of the problems that are inherent in today’s batteries,” Goodenough said.

The researchers demonstrated that their new battery cells have at least three times as much energy density as today’s lithium-ion batteries and allows a greater number of charging and discharging cycles, which equates to longer-lasting batteries, as well as charging in minutes rather than hours. The use of an alkali-metal anode (lithium, sodium or potassium) increases the energy density with over1,200 cycles and low cell resistance.

The solid-glass electrolytes can operate at -20 °C, the first all-solid-state battery cell to operate under 60 °C and so could be used for automotive and outdoor stationary power applications.

Cockrell School senior research fellow Maria Helena Braga began developing solid-glass electrolytes with colleagues while she was at the University of Porto in Portugal. About two years ago, she began collaborating with Goodenough and researcher Andrew J. Murchison at UT Austin. Braga said that Goodenough brought an understanding of the composition and properties of the solid-glass electrolytes that resulted in a new version of the electrolytes. This is now patented through the UT Austin Office of Technology Commercialization which is talkingto battery makers aboutliceinsing the technology. 

There are several cost advantages to the design from materials to construction. The glass electrolytes allow them to plate and strip alkali metals on both the cathode and the anode side without dendrites, which simplifies battery cell fabrication, and materials other than lithium could be used. “The glass electrolytes allow for the substitution of low-cost sodium for lithium. Sodium is extracted from seawater that is widely available,” said Braga.

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