Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Power Science Technology

MIT and Samsung Researching Solid-State Batteries 60

jones_supa writes: Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Samsung have developed a new approach to one of the three basic components of batteries, the electrolyte. The new findings are based on the idea that a solid electrolyte, rather than liquid, could greatly improve both device lifetime and safety, while also providing a significant boost in power density. The new type of electrolyte would also cope better in cold temperatures. The results are reported in the journal Nature Materials in a paper by MIT postdoc Yan Wang, visiting professor of materials science and engineering Gerbrand Ceder, and five others.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

MIT and Samsung Researching Solid-State Batteries

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I thought most Lithium-whatever batteries were already using solid electrolytes, and then there are the old "dry" cells, which I suppose still technical use a wet electrolyte, but this is hardly earth shattering new thinking.

    • http://www.exide.com/Media/fil... [exide.com]

      More than you ever needed to know about batteries.

      As a side note, if anyone is considering replacing a car battery, I highly highly recommend the Optima. I have a red top, and again today it prevailed with flying colors after ten years of abuse - you can't even read the sticker anymore.
  • This is good. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WSOGMM ( 1460481 ) on Wednesday August 19, 2015 @02:25PM (#50349039)

    Improvements in battery technology are one of the most important stepping stones in getting us to that Star Trek utopia. Obviously they're used everywhere, but with 'perfect' battery technology, you don't need to worry about peak load energy production (ie, you can produce clean energy sporadically and save it if power demand isn't high enough), you don't need gasoline for cars, and your smartphones won't take hours to charge.

    It seems that the main advantage of this breakthrough is, among other benefits, eliminating the heating problems associated with high energy devices like car batteries. One of the biggest problems people have with electric cars is that you can't charge them faster than you can fill up a tank of gas. FTFA:

    The electrolyte in such batteries — typically a liquid organic solvent whose function is to transport charged particles from one of a battery’s two electrodes to the other during charging and discharging — has been responsible for the overheating and fires... The lithium itself is not flammable in the state it’s in in these batteries.

    This is big, and I'm excited. Don't get me wrong, this isn't an overall solution to our dirty energy practices and clunky smartphones, but it's a big step in the right direction. Surely there will be design hurdles to overcome, which will probably delay implementation for some time, but this century is going to be great if we don't fuck it up too bad.

    Also, if you can get past the paywall, here's a link to the nature materials article that the article didn't have: http://www.nature.com/nmat/jou... [nature.com]

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      I was under the impression that one of the main reasons you can't charge a battery in an electric car as fast as you can fill one up with gas is that even *IF* the battery allowed for theoretically instant recharging, you still couldn't draw enough power from the grid to get enough energy to saturate the battery in that time.
      • Imagine a "gas station" having a very, very large capacity battery, which would be used like their big gas tanks now. Charging a car could take the charge from that battery in a short amount of time. The "gas station' would the slowly charge their big battery off of the grid. As long as the station's battery could hold enough charge for, say a fifty or hundred cars (just a stupid, off the top of my head estimate), the battery could be charged off the grid at a steady rate.
        • by lgw ( 121541 )

          You still need a cable that won't overheat at the amperage. A 4" solid copper busbar would be a bit awkward to connect.

          • by rch7 ( 4086979 )

            Overheating or not depends on cooling and it is not impossible to do.

            • by lgw ( 121541 )

              Well, and the wiring inside the car. Needing functional active cooling of wiring inside the car to avoid a safety hazard seems like a bad plan, to me. But for all I know, the existing Tesla charging cables can handle the needed amperage to charge the car in 2 minutes - I don't know whether that's hundreds or thousands of amps. I do know that hundreds of amps is enough to spotweld a live connector to the sheetmetal body of a car (when that's a short) in a fraction of a second, and it's all downhill from t

              • by rch7 ( 4086979 )

                Existing Tesla superchargers can ouput around 300-400A. Wire inside the car is reported to be #2 AWG, nothing special. While it looks huge current for household application, it is nothing new in the industry and it is well known how to handle it and how to increase it to much higher amperage. Maximum amperage is only used at the very beginning of of empty battery charging anyway, so if battery would be able to take 400A all the time, it would reduce full charging time to about half without changing anything

                • by lgw ( 121541 )

                  Yeah, 300-400 amps is pretty normal for the connection between battery and starter in a normal car - wouldn't seem like a problem. But how long does a supercharger actually take? Longer than the 2-minute gas fill-up it's being compared against? I'm wondering how many peak amps it would take to get a 2-minute charge.

                  • by rch7 ( 4086979 )

                    Assuming you only doing 0% to 50% charging, it takes around 20 minutes at supercharger. So you need 3000-4000A for 2 minutes. Or increase voltage. As such batteries do not exist yet, you can only speculate how they may work. E.g high temperature superconductors are in used commercially since last decade, allow current for 200 times more than copper, and liquid nitrogen is cheap. I personally would not pay much for 2 minutes charge option - it is not a track racing, and only few of my trips need recharging o

      • you still couldn't draw enough power from the grid to get enough energy to saturate the battery in that time.

        That problem has long since been solved in other applications, generally in the form of inertial energy storage. You spin up a flywheel with a big electric motor (or sometimes the motor itself is heavy enough that it's basically its own flywheel) with whatever constant load the grid will support. Energy is pulled back out using a generator (either attached to the flywheel via mechanical clutch, or by electrically reversing the leads on the motor).

      • by sribe ( 304414 )

        ...you still couldn't draw enough power from the grid to get enough energy to saturate the battery in that time.

        Indeed, it's a substantial power draw required to charge a car in a minute or two. Gas pumps can put out about 10gal/min, so 2 minutes is a reasonable max time to use for comparison purposes. To get a Tesla's 85kWh in 2 minutes from 230-volt 2-phase, that would be about 400A, which is twice the power supply to a typical house. (And of course that 85kWh does not get you as far as the 20gal of gas would; but still I don't think consumers will be doing those calculations; what they'll be doing is driving away

        • Probably the 'fuel station' would go the way of the dodo and other establishments like stores, restaurants, etc. will offer 'charge while you eat/shop/go to the bathroom/sleep' service in the parking lot.
        • Re:This is good. (Score:5, Informative)

          by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday August 19, 2015 @04:13PM (#50349979)

          having cars drive up, spend a minute or two and pay, then drive away is a viable business. Having cars take 10-15 is not; too much land and too many stations required.)

          Keep in mind that a gas station can take up a quarter acre or more. But an electric charging station is the size of a parking meter. Since they require no infrastructure other than power, they can be dispersed. Existing charging stations are placed near restaurants or shopping centers, where people are going to park anyway, and they can use the downtime to eat and shop.

          My wife owns a Tesla. She won't let me drive it, but she will let me ride in the passenger seat. We have taken some longish trips, and have to stop every 3 hours or so, vs. every 6 hours with a gas car. It is a bit of a hassle, but not a deal breaker. However, she uses it mostly for commuting, and only rarely for long trips.

          • by mark-t ( 151149 )

            My wife owns a Tesla. She won't let me drive it....

            Dude, wtf? Is your driving really that terrible that nobody with an ounce of sense trusts you to drive their car, or are you saying something that's probably more than anyone here needed to know about the state of your marriage? I don't know which is worse for you, honestly.

            • Nah, his wife has a rich husband, so she drives a Tesla. But he is not married some rich girl, so he conserves money. It makes sense.
          • by rossdee ( 243626 )

            "Keep in mind that a gas station can take up a quarter acre or more."

            Thats because they don't make much money selling gas, the space is used by the store selling convenience foods.

        • Gas stations of the future will not exist unless they are selling gas. The demand for electric charging will not be great enough because the majority of people will charge at home. Competition from restaurants and other service providers will also be present since providing electricity does not require the infrastructure and safety certification required for selling gasoline - at least not if you are charging slow. Some fuel stations supporting fast charges will likely exist but they will not be common a
          • by mark-t ( 151149 )

            Some fuel stations supporting fast charges will likely exist but they will not be common

            So what you're saying is that nobody will ever bother using electric cars to drive 1000 miles in a day?

            Fast recharging stations are going to need to be more than uncommon to viably support long distance road travel. Maybe they don't need to be as common as gas stations are right now, but probably not even an order of magnitude less. That's still one heckuva lot...

        • by jandjmh ( 66714 )

          Tesla owner here: Your math is way off -
          230V at 400 amps is 92KW. Charging is maybe 95% efficient.If your 85 KWH Tesla battery was near empty if would take about an hour to fill at that rate. Longer in realitity, as the charge rate decreases as you approach full. Tesla's supercharger stations supply a maximum of 120KW during the initial 15-30 minutes, then taper down to be nice to the battery.
          The "hose" at the supercharger kiosk is similar to a gas station hose, and delivers about 360VDC at 330 amps
          Supercha

          • by sribe ( 304414 )

            Tesla owner here: Your math is way off -

            Indeed. Brain fart. Seem to have confused instantaneous power with stored energy somehow without factoring in time. D'oh.

            So for 1-2 minute charging, would require 10x what I claimed. Now we're beyond smallish office building, but I suspect still well within the kind of power delivered to a shopping mall--although I'm not sure about that.

        • by mark-t ( 151149 )

          And that 85khw represents perhaps only about a fifth of the work that you can get out of a full tank of gasoline

          I remember working it out once that if you wanted to fully recharge a hypothetical car battery in about the same amount of time it took to fill up a car with gas, and you wanted the battery to be able to move a 1000kg car as far as about a full tank of gas would go at the same speeds, to fully recharge in that short a time span would require a power output on the order of no less than 10 megawa

          • by sribe ( 304414 )

            And that 85khw represents perhaps only about a fifth of the work that you can get out of a full tank of gasoline.

            That 85kWh gives the car a range of over 200 miles. What car gets > 1,000 miles on a tank of gas. I suspect you're confusing the total stored energy in a tank of gas with the fraction that an IC engine can actually convert to mechanical work.

            I remember working it out once that if you wanted to fully recharge a hypothetical car battery in about the same amount of time it took to fill up a car with gas, and you wanted the battery to be able to move a 1000kg car as far as about a full tank of gas would go at the same speeds, to fully recharge in that short a time span would require a power output on the order of no less than 10 megawatts.

            10 megawatts for 1 minute is 167 kWh, twice the capacity of a Tesla, so high, but within range. 4.5kA

            Funny. My math was off; I was 10x low. Your math was off. You were at least 2x high, 4x if you go by my criteria of "filling up" in 2 minutes. Off to remedial math cl

            • by mark-t ( 151149 )
              A car doesn't get 1000 miles on a tank of gasoline, obviously... the difference is caused by the fact that an electric engine is much more efficient at utilizing energy than a gasoline powered one.
    • This is big, and I'm excited.

      yes, i'm sure there are plenty of people who are excited about a Ceder-Wang battery. ;)

    • Improvements in battery technology are one of the most important stepping stones in getting us to that Star Trek utopia.

      I fail to see how battery technology will get me laid by gorgeous green women [ugo.com].

      Of course, we may have different ideas about Utopia...

      (RIP, Yvonne [limaohio.com])

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The biggest limitation to flight time on multirotors right now is the battery. There's a sort of balancing act between carrying a bigger battery to gain more flight time vs. having to upscale the airframe, motors, and props to support the extra weight. So most designers hit a wall of 20-30 minutes in the air. I RTFA and didn't catch any commentary on relative weight savings. I wonder if, on top of other stated advantages of a solid state battery, it might be lighter in weight? Anyone that's hoping to use dr

  • You can at least get the abstract for the paper here: http://www.nature.com/nmat/jou... [nature.com]

  • Wake me up when you can make long-lasting batteries without having to tear apart third-world countries to get the materials.

Two is not equal to three, even for large values of two.

Working...