TS #37 The Wildcard of Batteries

The future of the automotive industry are EV’s and that’s an undisputable fact. But at the present moment EV’s are still lacking when it comes to competing with ICE (Internal Combustion Engines) vehicles. This “lack” is mainly seen in the range of the vehicles. The current lithium-ion batteries used in EV’s get the job done but they are not efficient in the long run of a car.

Here enters the Lithium Metal batteries. A lithium-ion battery is composed of cathode, anode, separator and electrolyte. It uses a liquid electrolyte solution. On the other hand, a solid-state battery uses solid electrolyte, not liquid*. Engineers at Harvard have developed a solid-state lithium-ion battery that is capable of charging and discharging over 10,000 charge cycles and it still held 82% of it’s charge after 10,000 cycles.

Until now scientists were unable to create a stable lithium-metal battery which could be used for commercial purposes. The development, made by the team at Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) would increase the lifetime of electric vehicles to that of of their gasoline counterparts – while simultaneously increasing their range and reducing their charge time (10 minutes for a full charge!!). “A lithium-metal battery is considered the holy grail for battery chemistry because of its high capacity and energy density,” said Xin Li, an associate professor at SEAS.

image of BLT sandwich
A BLT battery. First comes the bread — the lithium metal anode — followed by lettuce — a coating of graphite. Next, a layer of tomatoes — the first electrolyte — and a layer of bacon — the second electrolyte. Finish it off with another layer of tomatoes and the last piece of bread — the cathode.

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Emil Eapen
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