Planar Energy, a spin-off of the National Renewable Energy Laboratories, has quietly been developing solid-state battery technology and remains convinced that the future of electric vehicle batteries is solid-state technology. The Orlando-based company believes that its solid-state design could potentially offer more power output and higher energy storage density than a typical lithium ion battery. As Planar Energy notes, typical lithium ion batteries lack stability and longevity due to undesirable chemical reactions that can occur in the liquid-based electrolytes. If you replace the reactive liquid electrolyte with a solid ion conductor, the solid-state battery is born.

Up until now, solid-state battery technology has been difficult to scale up to the size required by the automotive industry. Planar Energy claims to have solved the issue by developing a roll-to-roll deposition process that allows larger solid-state batteries. Planar Energy will build a pilot production line next year and hopes to begin manufacturing its batteries for high-tech electronic devices. If all goes as planned, the company will scale up efforts and begin development work on automotive batteries. Follow the jump to learn more about Planar Energy's recent advancements in solid-state battery technology. Hat tip to David!

[Source: Planar Energy, Technology Review]


PRESS RELEASE

Solid State Breakthrough for Ultimate Performance


Planar Energy's new generation of inorganic solid state electrolyte and electrode materials combined with a proprietary manufacturing process (Streaming Protocol for Electroless Electrochemical Deposition, or SPEED) comprises a materials performance and fabrication breakthrough that overcomes the production and cost barriers to low-cost, solid state, large format batteries.

Our proprietary methodology will produce batteries that are superior to existing lithium-ion at less than half the cost per kilowatt-hour and with three times the energy density. These dramatic cost and performance improvements will move the automotive industry forward substantially on the path to make electric vehicles practical and affordable.

The methodology begins with a fundamental materials innovation: Our solid state electrolytes produce ionic conductivity metrics comparable to liquid electrolytes used in traditional chemical batteries. Unlike traditional chemical batteries that contain liquid electrolytes, polymers and solvents, making them less safe and prone to shorter battery life, Planar Energy's solid state batteries are comprised of all inorganic materials and have no liquids, eliminating the possibility of dangerous chemical reactions and the need for complex packaging requirements. Planar's electrolyte chemistries have more than 1,000 times the conductivity of vacuum-deposited electrolytes and ionic conductivity equal to that of high-performance liquid electrolytes, but without their drawbacks.

SPEED: A New Deposition Process

The ability to fabricate this new generation of advanced materials is a result of Planar Energy's innovations in materials deposition and device manufacturing. Planar Energy's new deposition process, SPEED, eliminates the need for costly and time-consuming vacuum deposition that is historically required for inorganic films. It also produces energy storage films that are significantly superior to slurry and polymer-based films used in traditional chemical batteries.

SPEED is a low-cost, high-speed, roll-to-roll deposition process, which is significantly more flexible and scalable than existing deposition methods. Using water-based precursors, SPEED allows for the direct growth of self-assembled films directly on flexible substrates or directly on top of other films. Film growth is done under ambient conditions and with growth rates exceeding 1 micron/minute over large surface areas. SPEED-deposited films can range from single element films or complex inorganic chemistries with excellent stochiometry. SPEED-deposited films meet or exceed all performance metrics of comparable chemistries grown in a vacuum process.

The SPEED process is compatible with a vast array of known compound materials systems and it enables entirely new compound materials not achievable in vacuum or slurry-coating processes. Planar Energy's proprietary electrolytes are based upon unique chemistries that cannot be achieved in vacuum deposition.