Breakthrough solid-state batteries make lithium-ion competitive with supercapacitor rates

by: John DyeMarch 22, 2016


Toyota researchers have discovered a way to remove the liquid electrolyte component of lithium ion batteries to create a far more stable power source that complete an entire charge/discharge cycle in less than seven minutes. The prototype has the same energy density as traditional lithium-ion batteries, but it can remain functional at a much wider temperature range. The battery still functions all the way down to -30 degrees Celsius, and when it nears 100 degrees Celsius, its discharge rate is comparable to a supercapacitor.

While this doesn’t solve the primary issue smartphone batteries are facing – namely, the fact that battery tech doesn’t advance in accordance with Moore’s law, so we’re still dealing with batteries that are far larger than processing tech of the same age – it does solve the vast majority of battery failure scenarios. How you may ask? Let’s take a look!

Lithium Ion Batteries AA

So the primary operation that a battery must be able to perform is to ferry electrons from one electrode to another, right? The ideal medium for this has traditionally been a liquid electrolyte. The only problem is that leaking electrolytes are the cause of a slew of sudden battery failure issues. Moreover, if your liquid electrolytes freeze over, your battery can become dysfunctional.

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Now, researchers have long been looking for a solid alternative to these liquid electrolytes. Solid electrolytes are totally doable, but the problem is that they need to have a very particular crystalline structure that basically operates like a subway system for electrons. Most chemicals that have the kind of structure that allows for this are either prohibitively expensive or chemically unstable. However, Toyota researchers have found two substances that fit the bill:  Li9.54Si1.74P1.44S11.7Cl0.3 and Li9.6P3S12. These maddeningly complex formulas are chemically stable and relatively cheap to produce. Using these instead of liquid electrolytes increases conductivity to twice that of traditional lithium-ion batteries, greatly expands the battery’s temperature survival range, and makes for a much more fail-safe component.

What do you think of this new development in the lithium battery world? Snooze news or potentially the battery tech of tomorrow? Let us know your perspective and opinion in the comments below!

Lithium Ion Batteries AANext: Lithium revolution: what you need to know about the vital resource of tomorrow12
  • Arman


  • Andrew

    Is there an application for this in electric cars? That is to say will this allow for similarly large capacity batteries which charge in a fraction of the time?

    • Planterz

      Last I checked, Toyota doesn’t make cell phones or cell phone batteries. Obviously, they’re developing this tech for their electric/hybrid cars. But if it pans out, it’ll apply to everything from cars to phones to cordless powertools to e-cigs to dildos.

  • What is the warranty, stability over time, and the damage plan?

  • RiTCHiE

    Been heaqring thisd for years on how new tech will push new batteries but they still have to hit the normal folks.

    • charlie Jason

      So true.
      Maybe companies don’t want batteries to get good, so we have to upgrade every two years at least.

    • Öysan Kulbay

      This solution has been researched for a looooong time. Read about this around 5-7 years ago. They won’t apply it to phones since they want to earn money. Add another 7-10 years before this comes out. Minimum.

      • Artgineer

        Your logic is flawed, they would win all the battery contracts if they could produce them, the fact of the matter is they can’t. They also don’t want millions of lawsuits for injured people.

  • Jose

    warranty? I’m sure they haven’t even started mass producing these batteries yet lol

  • Marty

    Wasn’t aware the lithium in batteries was a liquid. I know it’s a paste, but a paste isn’t liquid. However, it’s probably different tech for cars.

    • Richard Riker

      It isn’t. The electrolyte is liquid. No one said the lithium is liquid.

      • Marty

        I saw how Lithium Ion batteries were made one time and there was no liquid in the mix.

        • Richard Riker

          Then it was maybe Li-polymer, where the electrolyte is in an polymer, but the electrodes must be solid whereas the electrolyte is normally liquid, in this case solid.

  • Wjdzm

    And they said Samsung “might” release a new phone with their graphene-tech battery equipped this year. smh.

  • Sayed ahamed

    Research takes a whole lot of time then its long term effects validation mass production viability and scale

  • Bernardo Ortiz

    for cell phones I think it is blah news , not really going to change anything.

    For the auto industry I would have the question as to how well the battery holds it charge below freezing temperature. Does this not make electric cars more use-able in freezing conditions. I’m sure others can come up with products where this innovation will make a more serious impact than cell phones.

    Bottom line I think this is big new, but the wrong forum / product line to make headline news.