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Safe solid-state lithium batteries herald ‘paradigm shift’ in energy storage

Posted by on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 in News.

The race to produce safe, powerful and affordable solid-state lithium batteries is accelerating and recent announcements about game-changing research using a solid non-flammable ceramic electrolyte known as garnet has some in the race calling it revolutionary.

“This is a paradigm shift in energy storage,” said Kelsey Hatzell, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. A paper – “The Effect of Pore Connectivity on Li Dendrite Propagation Within LLZO Electrolytes Observed with Synchrotron X-ray Tomography” – describing her novel research on the failure points of a garnet electrolyte was published online in March in the American Chemical Society’s Energy Letters, which was among the most read ACS Letters articles that month.

Lithium-ion batteries typically contain a liquid organic electrolyte that can catch fire (watch the video). The fire risk is eliminated by the use of a non-flammable garnet-based electrolyte. Replacing liquid electrolytes with a solid organic like garnet also potentially lowers the cost by increasing battery life.

“Solid-state batteries are desirable for all-electric vehicles and other applications where energy storage and safety are paramount,” Hatzell said.

Hatzell’s team tested Li7La3Zr2O12  – Lithium lanthanum Zirconium Oxide or LLZO – a garnet-type material that shows great promise for all-solid-state battery applications due to its high Li-ion conductivity and its compatibility with Li metal.

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