Solid State Electrolyte
Solid state electrolytes are composed of superionic material that is used to replace traditional liquid organic electrolytes used in most batteries today. There are many motivations to replace liquid electrolytes but some of the key points include how much safer solid electrolytes are, and also how much better they perform.
There have been many examples of the dangers of lithium ion batteries when liquid organic electrolyte is used. These electrolytes are toxic and highly flammable and many lithium ion fires can be observed within many different industries. Tesla has had a few of their cars catch fire because of their batteries, and many have seen the fires caused by hoverboards everywhere from inside malls to inside homes.
One of the most famous instances of lithium ion battery failure is on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. After only a couple weeks of use, the batteries on board caught fire due to thermal runaway. This caused the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to cease all operations of the 787 class of planes until the problem is resolved.
All of these fires could have been prevented with solid state electrolytes. Solid state electrolytes also have many qualities that help them outperform the liquid electrolytes. These include increased power density, improved thermal stability, longer battery lifetimes, and a larger electrochemical stability window.
It has been speculated that lithium ion batteries with solid state electrolytes could last through hundreds of thousands of cycles due to the lack of degradation reactions. The batteries performance is also not as affected by extreme temperature fluctuations as much as it affects liquid electrolytes. Their power density is currently 20 to 30 percent above the traditional electrolytes and keeps improving by the year.
As time goes on, solid state electrolytes will become more prevalent within batteries and as the price of production decreases, there will surely be an increase in solid electrolytes within the average consumer market.