New Solid-State Battery Could Revolutionize Electric Vehicles

A tiny ion-lithium battery could bring much needed efficiency and longevity to EVs.

Charging your electric car could become a less frequent occurrence with these new batteries.

(Viktoriia Hnatiuk /

While many types of electric vehicles are gaining in popularity around the world, the range of travel without recharging is limited as well as the types of vehicles that can be powered. All electric airplanes have not taken off because the current batteries are too heavy and do not have enough power for airplanes to take-off. 

Now, researchers from two Chicago institutions are revolutionizing the EV world with a dime-sized solid-state battery. The ability to store energy in an efficient and clean way is vital for a brighter future. 

Solid-state batteries 
To understand the importance of this new solid-state battery that was discovered at Argonne National Labs and the Illinois Institute of Technology, both located in Chicago, it is important to have some background about batteries.

According to Inside Climate News, batteries work by moving energy through an electrolyte from one side (the cathode) to the other (the anode), and vice versa when charging and discharging, respectively.  Currently, the ion-lithium batteries that charge pretty much everything from your phone to your electric car work, use liquid lithium as its electrolyte material. 

The problem with liquid ion-lithium batteries is that this type of battery can sometimes explode and catch fire. Also, the batteries have a limited capacity to store energy, as anyone whose cell phone battery dies at the most inconvenient time knows. 

The battery created at Argonne, as reports, uses a solid ceramic electrolyte material, as well as a solid-state lithium cathodes and anodes. In addition, the battery is air-permeable. What this means, in chemical terms, is that the battery can hold a lot more energy. 


“It’s all about the chemistry and energy density,” Dr. Mohammad Asadi, assistant professor of Chemical Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and a team leader on the battery project told Inside Climate News. 

 The practical implication of this is that there could soon have electric vehicles with very long ranges, as well as much more efficient electric vehicles. Since the Argonne-IIT battery is so tiny,  it can be applied to EVs. Even though batteries to power vehicles like cars or  airplanes  would have to be larger, it would still be considerably smaller and lighter than what is currently on the market.  

Thinking beyond lithium
Another  problem with lithium is that just like fossil fuels, it is a non-renewable material. Someday soon, the world will run out. That is why, according to a Freethink video, the researchers at the Argonne National Lab are also thinking beyond lithium, and creating new materials of their own with the help of a super-computer.  

The hope is that one of these theoretical materials will prove to be stable enough, cheap enough, and renewable enough to create a whole new world of battery stored electricity and clean energy. 

Dr. Vinkat Sirinivasan, the Director of the Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science (ACCESS), told Freethink, “I think in the next ten, twenty, thirty years there’s going to be a future that is going to look very different than the past.” 

The possible use of these new tiny batteries is almost endless. Cell phones the size of credit cards, only electric vehicles on roadways, and electric airplanes soaring in the skies could become a reality. 

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