Next-Generation Batteries: Major Innovations by Hydro-Québec and CIC Energigune

Major innovations from Hydro-Québec’s research institute (IREQ) and CIC Energigune pave the way for a generation of batteries that will succeed lithium-ion batteries in transportation electrification.

This Solid State Battery technology will lead to the development of safe, powerful, inexpensive batteries thanks to two main innovations. The first innovation is that the technology uses a solid electrolyte and the second is that the anode is made of metallic lithium with a specially treated surface.

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Lithium-ion batteries, which dominate the cell-phone and electric-vehicle markets, offer EVs a range of around 160 km. But this generation is approaching its top performance. These batteries also have some safety issues, as the liquid electrolytes are flammable.

“Our technology will lead to batteries with a range of more than 350 km per charge,” explained Karim Zaghib, Manager – Energy Storage and Conversion, at Hydro-Québec. “It’s a mature, really powerful technology and it will be ready to bring to market very soon.”

“This technology marks a significant advance, with a higher density than lithium-ion batteries, thanks to the use of metallic lithium for the anode,” said Jesús M.Goiri, General Director at CIC Energigune. “The new batteries are also safer, with a solid electrolyte that is nonflammable, unlike liquid electrolytes.”

“The next frontier is indeed metallic lithium, as it allows batteries to reach high energy densities without resorting to unsustainable elements, such as cobalt”, said Michel Armand, searcher at CIC Energigune. “A simple, green, iron derivative can be used. Furthermore, less copper is needed to assemble the battery.”

This technology was presented in an article that appeared in the prestigious scientific journal Nano Letters. For the first time, the researchers have showed cross-sections of a charged and discharged battery under a scanning electron microscope.Note that this scientific breakthrough is related to the one Hydro-Québec announced in February 2015(This hyperlink will open a new window), involving the cathode, the other basic component of rechargeable batteries.