Solid-state batteries can use a wide range of chemicals, but are prime candidates for commercial use lithium metal. quantumFirst, focus on that technology, and have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in funding before going public in 2020. The company already has an agreement with Volkswagen to be able to put batteries in cars in 2025.
But completely reinventing the battery has proved difficult, and lithium metal batteries have seen concerns about degradation over time as well as manufacturing challenges. quantum announced at the end of December it has already delivered samples to automotive partners for testing, a major milestone on the road to bringing solid-state batteries to cars. Other solid-state battery players, like solid power, are also working on making and testing their batteries. But while they may also hit major milestones this year, their batteries won’t be used by vehicles on the road by 2023.
Solid-state batteries aren’t the only new technology to watch out for. Sodium-ion batteries are also a drastic change from today’s common lithium-ion chemistries. These batteries are similar in design to lithium-ion batteries, including a liquid electrolyte, but instead of relying on lithium, they use sodium as the main chemical component. Chinese battery giant CATL supposedly planning to start mass production of them in 2023.
Sodium-ion batteries may not improve performance, but they can cut costs because they are based on cheaper, more readily available materials than lithium-ion chemists. But it’s not clear if these batteries can meet the demand for EV range and charge time, which is why some companies are pursuing the technology, like Natron is based in the USare targeting applications that require less start-up, such as stationary storage devices or micro-mobile devices such as e-bikes and scooters.
Today, the market for batteries aimed at fixed grid storage is small—about one-tenth of the EV battery market, according to Yayoi Sekine, head of energy storage at energy research firm BloombergNEF. However, the need for electricity storage is growing as more renewables are installed, as major renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are variable and batteries can help store energy when needed. set.
Lithium-ion batteries are not ideal for permanent storage, although they are commonly used today for this purpose. While batteries for electric vehicles are getting smaller, lighter and faster, the main goal of stationary storage is to cut costs. Size and weight are not as important as mesh storage, which means different chemicals will likely prevail.
an increase the star in the stationery store is ironand two players can see progress next year. energy form is developing an iron-air battery that uses a water-based electrolyte and essentially stores energy using a reversible rusting process. Company recently announced a $760 million manufacturing facility in Weirton, West Virginia, scheduled to begin construction in 2023. Another company, ESSis building a different types of iron batteries use similar chemistry; it began production at its headquarters in Wilsonville, Oregon.
Changes in standards
Lithium-ion batteries are getting better and cheaper, but researchers are tweaking the technology further to achieve higher performance and lower costs.