What defines an electric car is its battery. And whoever gets the battery with the highest energy density, which can be charged as quickly as possible and which is also cheap, will have hit the jackpot. One of the most promising technologies is that of semi-solid state batteries.
And in this race, the German startup Theion promises a battery that could outperform current lithium-ion batteries in all performance metrics. It would have more power, a longer lifespan, and a quick recharge.
The interest of semi-solid state batteries lies in the reduction of manufacturing costs. Semi-solid battery material costs are approximately 40% lower than standard lithium-ion battery architecture. Also, the manufacturing time is two-thirds shorter. This is because in semi-solid electrodes, the electrolyte mixes with materials to form a clay-like suspension, eliminating the need for a binder.
As a result, inactive materials are not needed and necessary to form the different layers of the electrodes are no longer necessary. Incidentally, the cost of processing such as drying, solvent recovery or electrolyte filling is also eliminated.
In the case of Theion’s QSSB battery (by Quasi Solid State Battery), the Berlin startup claims that it does not use cobalt, but it does industrial waste as the main source of materials. Thus, it would obtain a more “responsible socially and environmentally” production.
Theion also ensures that its battery will offer a greater energy capacity, both by mass and by volume. You will have quick recharge (100% charge in a few minutes) without this causing an appreciable degradation, and despite increasing the charge and discharge cycles, it will not reduce the useful life of the battery.
A priori, it could be the panacea. And although it is still too early to comment on that battery, the truth is that the grupo Coretec (one of the largest manufacturers of materials for energy applications) has established a strategic partnership with Theion. In other words, one of the largest groups in the sector takes the potential of this startup seriously.
The announcement represents a milestone in Coretec’s strategic plan to develop a portfolio of silicon-based and cyclohexasilane (CHS) materials in energy-focused applications such as electric vehicles, solar power, semiconductors and solid-state lighting.
A battery that would significantly improve recharging efficiency
Coretec’s CHS is key during the ** coulombic efficiency improvement ** process, which indicates the ratio between the energy consumed during recharging and the energy stored and then fed to the vehicle.
Theion and Coretec are not the first to bet on semi-solid state batteries. The startup 24M, funded by the US Department of Federal Energy, achieved in 2019 semi-solid lithium ion batteries with an energy density of 250Wh / kg, a density similar to the 2170 cells it uses Tesla in Model 3, considered the best on the market.
In early 2020, Kyocera became the first customer of 24M with the intention of bringing to market the first solid state batteries with an improved energy density and which would now reach 350 Wh / kg.
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