Scalable New Method Solves Material Joining in Solid-State Batteries

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Originally posted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a low-cost, scalable method to improve material bonding in solid-state batteries, solving one of the great challenges of business development long-life, secure energy storage systems. .

Solid-state batteries incorporate a safer, faster-charging architecture incorporating a solid-state electrolyte compared to the liquid electrolytes in today’s lithium-ion batteries. A successful commercial solid-state battery system could deliver at least twice the energy density of lithium-ion batteries in a much smaller footprint. The system would allow, for example, electric vehicles with significantly improved range.

One of the challenges of manufacturing solid-state batteries is the difficulty of getting the materials to join properly and remain stable during repeated cycles of charge and discharge. Scientists studying laboratory methods to overcome this characteristic, called contact impedance, have so far focused on the application of high pressures and other methods. But this process can lead to a short circuit and should be reapplied periodically to extend battery life with the help of an expensive aftermarket app.

The electrochemical pulse used by ORNL researchers eliminates the voids that form during the assembly of layers of lithium metal anode material with a solid electrolyte material: in this case, the ceramic electrolyte of garnet type LALZO (Li6.25Al0.25The3Zr2oh12). The application of short high voltage pulses led to increased contact at the interface of materials without causing adverse effects, as detailed in ACS Energy Letters.

The inexpensive, non-destructive pulsation method drives a local heat-generating current that surrounds the voids coated with lithium metal and causes them to dissipate. The team repeated experiments and advanced material characterization, which found that the battery components did not degrade after applying the pulsation method. This approach could be scaled to allow the solid-state battery to be removed and refreshed, bringing it almost back to its original capacity.

“This method will allow an all-solid architecture without applying extrinsic force which can damage the cell and is impractical to deploy while using the battery,” said Ilias Belharouak, co-manager of the project and head of the section. electrification. at ORNL. “In the process that we have developed, the battery can be manufactured normally, and then a pulse can be applied to rejuvenate and refresh the interface if the battery becomes tired.”

The idea for the method came from previous work in which researchers from the ORNL battery electrochemical pulses used to heal damaging dendrites that can form in solid electrolytes.

Research is ongoing, including experiments with more advanced electrolytic materials. ORNL’s multidisciplinary energy storage team is also working to extend its breakthroughs to a functional-scale solid-state battery system.

“Sometimes the things you see developed on a lab scale don’t work well together when you integrate them into the cell architecture,” Belharouak said. “At ORNL, we try to integrate practicality into our work, using our large group of scientists and engineers to fill science gaps at all scales for an approach that can be easily adopted by the industry. “

Other scientists who worked on the project include co-leaders Ruhul Amin, Marm Dixit, Rachid Essehli, Charl Jafta and David L. Wood, III of ORNL, and Anand Parejiya, graduate student at the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The project used the capacities of the DOE battery manufacturing plant at ORNL. The research was funded by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office, as well as the research and development program led by ORNL laboratories.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the largest support for basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. The Office of Science works to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit energy.gov/science.

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