January 16, 2021

PATHION's new solid electrolyte boosts lithium battery energy density

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Solid electrolyte

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At the 2015 Materials Research Conference in San Francisco this month, PATHION demonstrated two LiRAP-based superionic conductor solid electrolytes, Li3ClO in lithium-sulfur batteries and LiGlass in sodium-ion batteries.

Unlike liquid electrolytes, solid electrolytes have a very low expansion ratio, eliminating the out-gassing process, inhibiting dendrite growth between the anode and cathode (which may affect performance) and extending battery life. Li ions in LiRAP solid electrolytes perform better at high voltages and high currents, and increase energy density, battery power, and safety.

At present, PATHION is working on the development and improvement of lithium-sulfur batteries and sodium-ion batteries. Lithium-sulfur battery solid electrolyte is also based on LiRAP, but the current obstacle to the commercialization of high-energy-density lithium-sulfur batteries is that they have faster power loss, insufficient stability and low cycle efficiency, mainly due to their complex reactions. The principle, including the solubility of lithium ion polysulfides, is not the same.

Li3ClO-based glass electrolytes can act as a "barrier" to prevent polysulfide from diffusing into lithium ions. In addition, PATHION has found through experiments that the use of high-efficiency sulfur-ion cathodes can deliver sulfur densities of up to 6.9 mg/cm2.

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Solid electrolyte schematic

Combining the above glass electrolyte with a highly efficient sulfur ion cathode will greatly improve charging efficiency and extend battery life. At present, the best commercial lithium battery on the market is only 250 watt-hours/kg, while the lithium-sulfur battery is more than three times the former, up to 800 watt-hours/kg. In addition, new lithium-sulfur materials can be used on both batteries and supercapacitors.

A solid electrolyte called LiGlass is used in the sodium ion battery exhibited by PATHION. Based on performance maintenance, LiGlass delivers ultra-fast ionic conductivity at normal room temperature or 200 ° C with energy densities in excess of 1,000 watt-hours per kilogram.

Researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory initially developed LiRAP superionic solid electrolytes, primarily for use with metallic lithium anodes and rechargeable cathodes. This new material has enormous Li ion vacancies and lattice defects to accelerate lithium ion conversion under low energy barriers.

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