The electrification of our transport system is a crucial part of the transformation towards the climate-neutral economy that the EU envisions by 2050. So, are we on the road towards a (near) future where every vehicle is electric?
The wheels are certainly in motion. But to gain further momentum, battery technology needs to move beyond the current state of the art.
The EU wants to lead the development of novel battery technologies, such as solid-state lithium batteries. That’s why it supports SOLiDIFY, a project that seeks to create the materials and processes for the large-scale fabrication of these batteries in Europe.
Solid-state batteries: high-performance, low-cost and safe
What’s keeping people from buying electric vehicles? Many are concerned about:
- price tag
- driving range
- charging time
All three objections are linked to the safety limits of conventional lithium-ion batteries that use a liquid electrolyte.
Switching to batteries with a solid electrolyte can radically change the outlook for electrical vehicles. Research indicates that solid-state batteries could reach an energy density of 1200 Wh/L – enough to drive from Belgium to the south of France on a single charge. Recharging would only take 20 minutes. Finally, solid-state batteries would be low-cost and entirely safe.
SOLiDIFY: towards commercially available solid-state batteries
Right now, the fabrication of solid-state battery cells is at TRL (technology readiness level) 3: demonstration in the lab. The goal of the SOLiDIFY project is to elevate it to TRL 6: demonstration of prototypes in a pilot line.
The core objectives of the project relate to:
- cell performance: an energy density of more than 1200 Wh/l, charging time of 20 minutes and lifetime of more than 1000 cycles
- safety: reduced flammability in a temperature range from -40°C to +300°C and stable chemistry because of advanced coatings
- cost: less than € 100/Kwh
- sustainability: lower cobalt content and a water-based manufacturing process
That goal is to achieve these objectives by 2024.