A research team from the University of Surrey has successfully extended the lifespan of solid-state lithium batteries.
The necessity of lithium-ion batteries
Lithium-ion batteries have grown in demand in the past decade due to their various advantages, such as a lower charging time than standard batteries, longer battery life, and a higher power density for additional battery life in a lighter package. Thus, lithium-ion batteries have been employed in various types of technology and, in recent years, have been used for military and aerospace applications. However, what is arguably the most popular edition has been the use of lithium-ion to produce electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries have long been employed in EV production because, compared to other batteries, they have a higher energy per mass relative to other electrical energy storage systems. Additionally, they also have a high power-to-weight ratio, high energy efficiency, good high-temperature performance, and low self-discharge1.
Improving on previous solid-state lithium batteries
Despite the many advantages of utilising lithium-ion in EV batteries, there are several drawbacks that scientists have sought to improve, such as their fragility and requirement for a protection circuit to maintain a safe operation.
Researchers from the University of Surrey have developed novel high-density batteries that are stronger and less likely to short-circuit – an issue commonly discovered in previous lithium-ion solid-state batteries.
“We have all heard horror stories of lithium-ion batteries in transport settings, usually down to issues around cracked casing caused by exposure to stressful environments, such as extreme temperature changes,” explained Dr Yunlong Zhao from the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute.
“Our research proves that it is possible to produce more robust solid-state lithium-ion batteries, which should provide a promising approach for high-energy and safe future models to be used in real-life examples such as electric vehicles.”
Scientists’ new method improves the lifespan of batteries
Utilising the national facility at Surrey’s Ion Beam Centre, scientists injected Xenon ions into a ceramic oxide material to generate a solid-state electrolyte. Researchers discovered that this method produced a battery electrolyte that demonstrated a 30 times improvement in lifespan over a battery that had not been injected.
“We are living in a world that is far more aware of the damage humans are causing to the environment. We hope that our battery and approach will help boost the scientific development of high-energy batteries to eventually move us into a more sustainable future,” concluded Dr Nianhua Peng from the University of Surrey, and co-author of the study.