Royce researchers will help make batteries lighter, cheaper, safer and more efficient – understanding the fundamental processes within the all-solid-state battery is critical to developing next-generation batteries required for the electrification of vehicles.
A team including researchers from across the Royce aims to demonstrate the feasibility of a solid state battery with performance superior to existing Li-ion batteries in electric vehicle applications. The successful implementation of an alkali metal negative electrode and the replacement of the flammable organic liquid electrolytes, currently used in Li-ion batteries, with a solid would increase both the range of the battery and address safety concerns.
The SOLBAT project makes up one of 4 parallel ‘Fast Start’ projects funded by the Faraday Institution. It is a collaboration led by the University of Oxford, with six other university partners aiming to break down the barriers that are preventing the progression to market of solid-state batteries, that should be lighter and safer, meaning cost savings and less reliance on cooling systems.
The project will tackle four major barriers facing all-solid-state batteries where a lack of fundamental understanding is blocking progress, namely:
1. Plating and stripping Li or Na at the alkali metal anode / solid electrolyte interface where the new knowledge will be used to inform how to design anode/solid electrolyte interfaces to mitigate the formation of dendrites (which are known to limit rates of charge and discharge).
2. Ceramic-ceramic contact at the solid electrolyte / cathode interface will be investigated to better understand the factors that control wetting, contact and adhesion between the solid electrolyte and solid electrode particles as the latter expands and contracts on cycling.
3. Discovery of new solid electrolytes, beyond oxides and sulphides, as there is a need for new solid electrolyte materials that combine high conductivity with chemical and electrochemical stability and the necessary mechanical properties.
4. Integration of solid state electrolytes in full cell architectures is essential to explore antagonistic effects between the two interfaces in whole cells (alkali metal anode and intercalation cathode) and to investigate the smart electrode design based on controlled porosity cathodes formed from sulphide solid electrolytes.
UNIVERSITY CROSS COLLABORATION
The SOBALT project is a collaboration of six universities including three Royce partners (Universities of Liverpool, Cambridge and Sheffield).