Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Michael Wang, materials science and engineering Ph.D. candidate, uses a glove box to inspect a lithium metal battery cell in a lab in the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Project building at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. on October 19, 2020. Wang is working under Jeff Sakamoto, associate professor of mechanical engineering, to design a lithium metal solid state battery cell that can be integrated into existing lithium ion battery manufacturing infrastructure so that the better performing cells can be build cheaply and safely and enter the battery market more quickly, without requiring significant re-tooling of existing plants. Photo: Evan Dougherty/University of Michigan Engineering


Ceramic-Based Solid-State EV Batteries: These Are The Questions We Still Need To Answer

University of Michigan researchers lay out hurdles for tech that could double EV range.

Originally published by Michigan News, University of Michigan

The next generation of electric vehicle batteries, with greater range and improved safety, could be emerging in the form of lithium-metal, solid-state technology.

But key questions about this promising power supply need to be answered before it can make the jump from the laboratory to manufacturing facilities, according to University of Michigan researchers. And with efforts to bring electric vehicles to a larger part of the population, they say, those questions need answering quickly.

Jeff Sakamoto and Neil Dasgupta, U-M associate professors of mechanical engineering, have been leading researchers on lithium metal, solid-state batteries over the past decade. In a perspective piece in the journal Joule, Sakamoto and Dasgupta lay out the main questions facing the technology. To develop the questions, they worked in close collaboration with leaders in the auto industry.

Major automakers are going all-in on electric vehicles this year, with many announcing plans to phase out internal-combustion engine cars in the coming years. Lithium-ion batteries enabled the earliest EVs and they remain the most common power supply for the latest models coming off assembly lines.

Michael Wang, materials science and engineering Ph.D. candidate, uses a glove box to inspect a lithium metal battery cell in a lab at the University of Michigan in 2020. Image credit: Evan Dougherty/University of Michigan Engineering

Michael Wang, materials science and engineering Ph.D. candidate, uses a glove box to inspect a lithium metal battery cell in a lab at the University of Michigan in 2020. Image credit: Evan Dougherty/University of Michigan Engineering

Those lithium-ion batteries are approaching their peak performance in terms of the EV range on a single charge. And they come with the need for a heavy and bulky battery management system — without which there is risk of onboard fires. By utilizing lithium metal for the battery anode along with a ceramic for the electrolyte, researchers have demonstrated the potential for doubling EV range for the same size battery while dramatically reducing the potential for fires.

“Tremendous progress in advancing lithium metal solid-state batteries was made over the last decade,” Sakamoto said. “However, several challenges remain on the path to commercializing the technology, especially for EVs.”

Questions that need to be answered to capitalize on that potential include:

  1. How can we produce ceramics, which are brittle, in the massive, paper-thin sheets lithium metal batteries require?
  2. Do lithium metal batteries’ use of ceramics, which require energy to heat them up to more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit during manufacturing, offset their environmental benefits in electric vehicles?
  3. Can both the ceramics and the process used to manufacture them be adapted to account for defects, such as cracking, in a way that does not force battery manufacturers and automakers to drastically revamp their operations?
  4. A lithium metal solid-state battery would not require the heavy and bulky battery management system that lithium-ion batteries need to maintain durability and reduce the risk of fire. How will the reduction in mass and volume of the battery management system — or its removal altogether — affect performance and durability in a solid-state battery?
  5. The lithium metal needs to be in constant contact with the ceramic electrolyte, meaning additional hardware is needed to apply pressure to maintain contact. What will the added hardware mean for battery pack performance?

Sakamoto, who has his own startup company focused on lithium metal solid-state batteries, says the technology is having a moment right now. But the enthusiasm driving the moment, he says, must not get ahead of itself.

Rigorous testing and data analysis, along with transparency in research, are needed, according to the U-M team. That group includes Michael Wang, now a postdoctoral researcher at MIT, and Eric Kazyak, a research fellow in mechanical engineering at U-M.

Source, resources: Michael J. Wang, Eric Kazyak, Neil P. Dasgupta, Jeff Sakamoto (2021) “Transitioning solid-state batteries from lab to market: Linking electro-chemo-mechanics with practical considerations” Joule doi: 10.1016/j.joule.2021.04.001

More information:

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Former Tesla Battery Expert Leading Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Era — Podcast:

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Written By

We publish a number of guest posts from experts in a large variety of fields. This is our contributor account for those special people, organizations, agencies, and companies.


You May Also Like


Nobody could have predicted that one day, red state right-to-work laws would attract electric vehicle manufacturers and help cement decarbonization into public policy.


SOLiTHOR’s CTO, Dr Fanny Bardé, was Technical Manager for R&D–Advanced Technology at Toyota Motor Europe and worked on battery technology for xEVs (PHEV, HEV,...


At the Shanghai auto show this week, CATL said it will begin producing a semi-solid state battery by the end of this year.

Clean Transport

Replacing all of the oldest school buses in the nation could lead to 1.3 million fewer daily absences annually, according to a University of...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.