Researchers at the University of Maryland have made significant strides in battery technology, paving the way for safer and high-energy electric vehicles (EVs). Their groundbreaking method, detailed in a paper published in the journal Nature, addresses the issue of lithium dendrites—branch-like structures that can cause battery failures, fires, and decreased energy storage in all-solid-state lithium batteries.
The innovative battery “interlayer” design, led by Professor Chunsheng Wang from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, successfully suppresses the growth of lithium dendrites. This development holds immense promise for the production of all-solid-state batteries for EVs, reducing the risk of fires associated with traditional lithium-ion batteries.
Currently, over 750,000 registered EVs in the U.S. rely on lithium-ion batteries, known for their high energy storage but accompanied by a flammable liquid electrolyte component. The new design aims to overcome this limitation by preventing dendrite formation, creating a pathway for the widespread use of safer and more efficient all-solid-state batteries.
The researchers’ unique solution involves redesigning the interlayers to stabilize the battery’s interfaces, effectively suppressing the growth of lithium dendrites. The addition of a fluorine-rich interlayer stabilizes the cathode side, while modifications to the anode’s interlayer with magnesium and bismuth further prevent dendrite formation.
Professor Wang emphasizes the significance of solid-state batteries, stating, “Solid-state batteries are next-generation because they can achieve high energy and safety. In current batteries, if you achieve high energy, you’ll sacrifice safety.” The goal is to release these advanced batteries to the market by 2026, with ongoing trials and research focused on improving energy density and addressing cost challenges associated with basic materials.
This breakthrough in battery technology not only enhances the safety of EVs but also contributes to the advancement of high-performance and reliable energy storage solutions for a sustainable future.