June 22, 2021
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have made a breakthrough with the massless structural battery, successfully improving the performance of the battery tenfold. This will revolutionize the design of electric cars and electric aircraft.
This type of battery is a new trend in battery development -- building battery materials on top of various application materials so that the battery becomes part of the application structure. For example, the battery is melted into the material of the car body, the rivet of the building is the battery, or the whole wall is the battery, and so on, you can imagine how wide the application range of such batteries will be.
Such a battery design eliminates the need for a single battery unit on the object to be used in the battery, which makes the mass dedicated to the battery very small and greatly expands the application range of the battery.
Current electric vehicles have already occupied a certain market share, but the battery module is still quite bulky and occupies a large proportion of the mass of the whole vehicle. Therefore, many compromises have been made in the design of current electric vehicles according to the weight of the battery.
The research, published today (27 January) in the journal Advanced Energy and Sustainability Research (AESR), claims to have achieved a performance breakthrough with their new, weightless, structurally usable battery.
The researchers made the thin battery by laying a glass fabric between positive and negative electrodes, filling it with a polymer electrolyte and heating it in an oven. The researchers say the performance of the new battery is ten times better than existing technology.
"The battery has an energy density of 24Wh/kg, which is equivalent to about 20 percent of the capacity of current lithium-ion batteries," says a press release from Chalmers University of Technology announcing the results. But because the car will weigh significantly less and require much less energy to drive, a lower energy density improves safety. Combined with its rigidity of up to 25 GPa, this structurable battery can really compete with many other commonly used building materials."
The next step, the researchers say, is to replace the aluminum foil currently used in the electrode with carbon fiber material, and to reduce the thickness of the compartment. Hopefully, the energy density will reach 75 Wh/kg and the rigidity will reach 75 GPa, which will set a new record for massless battery performance and further reduce its mass.
With the application of solar panels unlimited prospects
In addition to electric bikes, the researchers say the batteries are useful for devices such as e-bikes, satellites and laptops.
The use of such batteries in airplanes is even more exciting. Current battery technology is a major obstacle to the development of electric aircraft. There is hope that massless battery materials, from ordinary aircraft to helicopters, could be redesigned to be electric, and even solar panels could be used to store energy in the fuselage and use it as needed.