Conventional lithium-ion batteries still wear out relatively quickly after frequent charging. For the new smartphone generation with permanently integrated batteries, this can mean that you have to buy a completely new device. The problem with these batteries is that a so-called top layer is created during charging and discharging which consumes capacity and increases internal resistance. And the more often the battery is charged and discharged, the faster this layer grows and the battery loses power.
The start-up High Performance Battery (HPB) based in Teufen, Switzerland, has now developed the world’s first solid-state battery in which this process does not occur. Its core is the result of a chemical reaction within the battery. Unlike traditional rechargeable batteries, no solid ion conductors are inserted into the battery as finished parts. Similar to “two-component glue,” the HPB fixed-ion conductor is first formed in the battery cell. This means that this technology could overcome major hurdles to the mass production of solid-state batteries as a possible successor technology to lithium-ion batteries, the inventors are pleased to report.
The advantages of the HPB solid-state battery over conventional batteries include its innovative technology, conferring it an extremely long service life with no loss of power – while maintaining an almost constant capacity. In addition, the solid-state battery is resistant to deep discharge and fast charging and, most importantly, the electrolyte is non-flammable and thus safe to use. Finally, no cobalt is used in the battery, helping to ensure that the new technology has a 50 percent better environmental footprint than conventional lithium-ion batteries. In initial tests, the innovative battery cell has already proven its basic functionality.
Reliable storage technology for a successful energy transition
Potential applications for the new battery include e-mobility on land, water and in the air – but especially for domestic energy supply and the intermediate storage of volatile electricity. If the energy transition is to succeed, it is essential that environmentally-friendly electricity from renewable energy sources be stored temporarily and available when needed. This holds true regardless of whether it is for private households or for industrial production.
But it is not only the new battery itself that is unconventional; HBP is also leaving the beaten track in terms of market development. Licenses are being granted to producers and users for attractive market segments. The launch of the first production line of 100-megawatt hours is planned for 2023. The modular design of the production should enable short-term entry and easy scaling up to gigafactory levels, says Dr. Thomas Lützenrath, COO of High Performance Battery.
Environmentally friendly solid-state battery could make Germany a technology leader
“The development of the solid-state battery is a great success and another step on the way to a successful energy transition,” emphasizes Lützenrath. “Apart from selling the licenses and preparing to begin production, we continue optimizing the battery cell in terms of size and capacity.”
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