Woburn, Massachusetts-based Ionic Materials claimed that it created the world’s first solid polymer electrolyte that could help make safe, longer lasting, and cost effective batteries. They say that “Significant improvements in battery safety, performance and cost are achievable with ionic conductivities that exceed those of traditional liquid systems over a wide range of temperatures.”
Conventional batteries use liquid electrolytes that are flammable, toxic and expensive. And those liquid electrolytes are main responsible for almost all of battery safety incidents.
Ionic Materials said that it built a solid state battery technology that eliminates the complicated and expensive process of making batteries with liquid electrolytes. Based on low-cost polymer processing techniques, the company’s technology eliminates toxic and flammable liquid electrolytes to make it possible to develop a true safe solid battery.
The company was able to create polymer electrolyte works at room temperature, resulting in improved battery safety and higher performance. Its polymer electrolyte is designed to enable next-generation rechargeable battery performance.
To allow a solid-state battery to function at room temperature and offer safe battery performance across a wide temperature range, the company built solid-state pouch cells with composite LCO and NCM cathodes. It replaced electrolyte and separator with an inherently safe, non-flammable polymer. Moreover, removing the liquid resulted in a more recyclable battery. The company’s batteries can be folded, cut, and damaged, but they do not ignite and continue to perform.
All previous attempts at solid electrolytes were unsuccessful, according to Ionic Materials. Other solid polymers only functioned at impractically high temperatures, while ceramic electrolytes struggled to overcome manufacturability, brittleness, stability, cost and other challenges.
Ionic Materials believes that its polymer electrolyte could replace the liquid electrolytes used in currently available batteries.
For the last four decades, scientists and engineers have tried to develop solid electrolytes for batteries. They have two main issues: polymers suffer from low conductivity at room temperature and lack of high voltage compatibility, while ceramics are brittle and they are associated with complex manufacturing. Also, ceramics have problems in scaling to high volumes.
Through lithium ion batteries are common and are being used in consumer electronics and electronic vehicles, they have a fundamental problem. In lithium ion batteries, liquid electrolytes become unstable when the temperature rises. Also, they are susceptible to shorts caused by dendrites and can catch fire and explode under certain circumstances. The company touts these benefits to consumers by saying “These improvements promise to speed the electrification of transportation and the transition to clean and renewable sources of energy, as well as enable safer and longer lasting consumer electronics devices.”
Meanwhile, Ionic Materials said that it received a $3 million Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The funding will be used by the company for the development of a polymer electrolyte and lithium/polymer interface to enable lithium cycling and development of solid intercalation cathodes. The program is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2017.
For more information please visit: http://ionicmaterials.com