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ScienceUSTC develops a solid-state lithium battery able to produced at one tenth...

USTC develops a solid-state lithium battery able to produced at one tenth of the cost

Researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) have developed a solid-state lithium battery produced at a fraction of the current cost. As reported by the South China Morning Post, this innovative development holds significant promise for commercial applications, potentially transforming the electric vehicle (EV) industry.

Detailed in a paper published on June 30 by the prestigious journal Angewandte Chemie, the USTC team introduced a novel approach to creating a solid electrolyte, a component critical to the functionality of solid-state batteries. Major industry players like Toyota and Samsung have invested heavily in developing a viable solid-state electrolyte, focusing primarily on three types: oxide, sulphide, and chloride.

Sulphide electrolytes are considered the most promising due to their superior performance; however, their high production costs have hindered widespread adoption. Speaking to Science and Technology Daily, USTC researcher Ma Cheng highlighted the economic challenge: a commercially viable solid-state battery electrolyte must cost less than $50 per kilogram, whereas current sulphide electrolytes exceed $195 per kilogram.

Ma and his team have developed a new sulphide solid electrolyte named LPSO, which circumvents the need for lithium sulphide, a costly raw material. LPSO is synthesized from two low-cost compounds, reducing ingredient costs to $14.42 per kilogram, which is less than 8% of the costs associated with traditional sulphide electrolytes.

Despite the significant cost reduction, LPSO retains the beneficial properties of high-performance sulphide electrolytes, including acceptable anode compatibility and performance stability. The new material matches well with high energy density anodes such as lithium metal and silicon. Remarkably, a battery constructed from LPSO and lithium metal demonstrated over 4,200 hours of stable cycling at room temperature.

While Ma acknowledged that LPSO still has room for performance enhancements, the current achievements mark a substantial step forward in the pursuit of cost-effective solid-state batteries.

This development is particularly timely as global competition in the EV battery market intensifies. Companies from Japan, South Korea, Europe, and the United States are focusing on next-generation battery technologies to gain a competitive edge. Both Toyota and Samsung are aiming to commercially release their all-solid-state batteries by 2027.

China is also aggressively pushing forward, with a government-led initiative to establish a solid-state battery supply chain by 2030. The China All-Solid-State Battery Collaborative Innovation Platform, launched in January, brings together government, academia, and industry leaders, including battery giants CATL and BYD. This consortium aims to ensure China remains at the forefront of solid-state battery development.

Chen Liquan, a prominent figure in the field and known as the “father of the Chinese lithium battery,” emphasized the strategic importance of this technology. In an interview with China Science Daily, Chen stated that seizing early opportunities is crucial for maintaining a proactive position in the future of rechargeable battery technology.

The USTC’s breakthrough in solid-state lithium battery technology represents a significant milestone, potentially setting a new standard in the global race to develop efficient and affordable EV batteries.

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