Imec and Panasonic have announced that they have developed a solid nanocomposite electrolyte for next-generation batteries with a lithium ion conductivity several times greater than its liquid equivalent.
The ion conductivity already reaches several mS/cm at room temperature and imec and Panasonic have set a goal to develop innovative solid nanocomposite electrolyte materials towards 100mS/cm in the next few years, which would make them suitable for fast-charging high-energy cells for use in vehicles and electronics.
Li-ion batteries are the predominant type of storage in the portable electronics and electrical vehicle markets and are poised to take an important role in the future energy grid, where they have the capacity to store energy from sustainable energy sources.
Li-ion batteries, however, still require considerable innovation in order to achieve ultra-fast-charging high-energy cells and to accelerate this, imec has set up a partner programme concentrating on solid-state batteries.
“One of the unique benefits of imec is that we can leverage our state-of-the-art semiconductor knowledge to solve challenges in other research domains such as smart energy,” explained Philippe Vereecken, principal member of technical staff and program manager at imec. “This is what we have done to develop a novel solid nanocomposite electrolyte (SCE) which is deposited from solution. The wet chemical preparation route allows the solid-state electrolyte to be casted into powder electrodes, where it solidifies while remaining mechanically pliable. This paves the way to batteries in flexible form factors.”
According to Vereecken, Imec’s and Panasonic’s SCE is a mesoporous silica monolith functionalised with specific surface chemistry and ionic salts and has achieved Li-ion conductivities of 3 to 10mS/cm at room temperature, “which is exceptionally high for solid electrolytes that are applied via wet chemical coating.
“Moreover, using a new electrolyte technology, we have demonstrated rechargeable solid-state Li-ion batteries with lithium titanate (Li4Ti5O12) as negative electrode and lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) as positive electrode.”