July 14, 2024

New Battery Design Promises Safer and More Efficient Electric Vehicles

A team of researchers at the University of Maryland has developed a groundbreaking technology that could revolutionize the field of electric vehicles (EVs). The team, led by Professor Chunsheng Wang, has discovered a way to prevent the growth of lithium dendrites, a major cause of battery failure in next-generation lithium batteries.

The research, published in the journal Nature, outlines how the team’s innovative battery interlayer design suppresses the growth of lithium dendrites. These branch-like structures can develop inside all-solid-state lithium batteries, posing a significant risk and hindering the commercialization of this promising technology. However, the new interlayer design stops dendrite formation, potentially paving the way for the production of safer and more efficient all-solid-state batteries for EVs.

One of the main challenges with current lithium-ion batteries is the risk of battery fires. While electric car battery fires are relatively rare, they can have severe consequences. The flammable liquid electrolyte component in lithium-ion batteries can burn when overheated, posing risks to first responders and the environment. The team’s innovative technology could mitigate this risk, making EVs safer for drivers and emergency personnel.

All-solid-state batteries have the potential to create even safer cars than current EVs or internal combustion models. However, overcoming the challenges associated with these batteries has been an arduous task. When operating at high capacities and charging-discharging rates required by electric vehicles, lithium dendrites tend to grow towards the cathode side of the battery, leading to short circuits and decreased capacity.

Through their research, Professor Chunsheng Wang and Postdoctoral Associate Hongli Wan developed a theory for the formation of lithium dendrite growth. Using this understanding, they proposed a redesigned battery interlayer that effectively suppresses the growth of lithium dendrites. By stabilizing the battery’s interfaces, the team’s unique battery structure prevents the growth of dendrites and ensures safe and efficient operation.

Despite this breakthrough, there are still challenges to overcome before the technology can be commercialized. Researchers will need to scale down the solid electrolyte layer to achieve a similar thickness to traditional lithium-ion batteries, improving energy density. Additionally, the high costs of basic materials pose another obstacle. However, advanced battery manufacturer Solid Power plans to begin trials of the new technology with the aim of releasing it to the market by 2026.

The development of this new battery technology has the potential to significantly impact the EV industry. Safer and more efficient all-solid-state batteries could revolutionize the electric vehicle market, making EVs even more attractive and accessible to consumers. Additionally, this breakthrough could have broader applications beyond the automotive industry, potentially revolutionizing energy storage technologies in other sectors. As research and development continue, the team aims to further increase energy density and explore additional enhancements to solid-state battery technology.


  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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