The world needs more electricity, preferably in a clean and renewable form. The energy storage market currently consists mainly of lithium-ion batteries. But what can we expect in the coming years?
Let’s start with some battery basics. A battery pack consists of one or more cells, each with a positive electrode (cathode), a negative electrode (anode), a diaphragm, and an electrolyte. The use of different chemicals and materials can affect the performance of a battery. You’re talking about how much energy a battery can store, how much power it can deliver, or how many times it can be charged and discharged.
Battery Manufacturers are constantly trying to find a cheaper chemical with a higher energy density that is lighter and more powerful.
A new generation of lithium-ion batteries
In lithium-ion batteries (Li-ion), energy is stored and released by the movement of lithium ions from the positive to the negative electrode (and vice versa) through the electrolyte. In this technology, the positive electrode acts as the initial lithium source and the negative electrode acts as the lithium body. The name lithium-ion is commonly used for different types of compounds.
Lithium metal oxides or phosphates are the most common materials used as cathode materials. Graphite, as well as combinations of graphite and silicon or lithiated titanium dioxide, are used as negative electrode materials. With current materials and designs, lithium-ion technology is expected to reach its energy limit in the next few years. Nevertheless, recent discoveries should be able to unlock the current boundaries. These innovative compounds can store more lithium in the positive and negative electrodes and are therefore able to combine energy and power. In addition, these new compounds take into account the scarcity of key raw materials.
Advantages of lithium-ion batteries
Today, lithium-ion battery technology allows for the highest level of the energy density of all advanced storage technologies. Properties such as fast charging or temperature range (-50°C to 125°C) can be refined by a wide range of designs and different chemistries. In addition, lithium-ion batteries offer other advantages such as very low self-discharge and very long service life as well as a large number of charge and discharge cycles.
When can we expect lithium-ion batteries?
It is expected that a new generation of advanced lithium-ion batteries will be deployed before the first generation of solid-state batteries hits the market. They are ideally suited for applications requiring high energy density, power, and high safety, such as energy storage systems for renewable energy and transport (transport, rail, aviation, and off-road traffic).
In lithium-ion batteries, lithium ions are stored in an active material that acts as a stable body structure during charging and discharging. In lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries there is no primary structure. During discharge, the lithium anode is consumed and the sulfur is converted into a variety of chemical compounds. The reverse process takes place during the charging process.
Advantages of lithium-sulfur
Lithium-sulfur batteries use very light active materials: sulfur in the positive electrode and lithium metal in the negative electrode. As a result, their theoretical energy density is extremely high: four times that of lithium-ion. This makes them very suitable for the aviation and aerospace industries, and Saft Batteries has chosen the technology that is best suited to solid-state electrolyte-based technology. Compared to the liquid Li-S variant, this technology roadmap offers a high energy density and a long service life and overcomes the main disadvantages (limited service life, high self-discharge rate, fire hazard, etc.). Furthermore, thanks to its excellent energy density by weight (+ 30% Wh/kg), this technology is a welcome addition to solid-state Li-ion.
When can we expect Lithium-sulphur?
The major technical hurdles have been overcome and maturity is rapidly moving towards full-size prototypes. For applications requiring longer battery life, the technology is expected to enter the market as soon as solid-state Li-ion batteries are introduced.
Solid-state batteries are causing a paradigm shift in battery technology, which is also being referred to as a scientific revolution. In modern lithium-ion batteries, ions move from one electrode to another through a liquid electrolyte (also known as ionic conductivity). In an all-solid-state battery, this liquid electrolyte is replaced by a solid that still allows the lithium ions to migrate from one side to the other. The concept is not new, but in the last decade, thanks to intensive research worldwide, new variants of solid electrolytes with a high ionic conductivity comparable to that of liquid electrolytes have been discovered, thus overcoming this particular technical hurdle. Today Grepow’s work focuses on two main material types: polymers and inorganic compounds. Focusing on the synergy of physicochemical properties such as processability, stability, and electrical conductivity, Grepow has developed semi-solid batteries, which are now being produced in high volume to meet the high energy demands of the market.
Grepow semi-solid battery uses a stacked-sheet pouch cell process and silicon-carbon anode material to significantly break the energy density of existing lipo batteries, which is 275 to 300Wh per kg. The capacity Retention can stay more than 80% after 1000 cycles and the dynamic voltage imbalance is less than 100 mV. This technology is more reliable and light, it has a longer range for professional field drones such as mapping, E-VTOL, and consumer electronics. Semi-solid batteries can also be customized to perfectly fit the shape of the appliance you need.
Advantages of solid-state batteries
The first major advantage is the significant improvement in cell and pack safety: the solid electrolyte is non-flammable when heated, unlike liquid electrolytes. Secondly, through the use of innovative high-voltage materials, it is possible to achieve high capacities and thus lightweight batteries with high energy density. It also has a longer shelf life due to a significant reduction in self-discharge.
In addition, it offers other advantages at the production level, such as simplified mechanics and thermal and safety management. Thanks to their good Wh / Kg ratio, the batteries are ideally suited for use in electric vehicles.
When can we expect solid-state batteries?
As technology advances, various types of solid-state batteries may enter the market. The first will be solid-state batteries with graphite-based anodes, which could provide significant improvements in energy and safety performance. As time passes, lighter solid-state battery technology using lithium metal anodes should become commercially available.
These are just a few of the batteries available, if you have any other battery needs you can ask Grepow, we are the world’s leading battery manufacturer and you can find out here that anything is possible. Contact for more battery information at [email protected]