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Solid-State Battery Development: From Technical Challenges to Broad Market Prospects

published: 2024-06-03 17:01

Recently, on the 31st of the month, the China Battery Industry Innovation Alliance held a summit on new battery system technologies, where scholars and corporate executives in the field of new energy batteries focused on the current status, industrial application exploration, and future trends of solid-state battery development. Experts have indicated that China's solid-state battery technology is currently in the germination stage before product introduction. It is expected that all-solid-state batteries will achieve small-scale demonstration installation by 2027 and large-scale mass production installation by 2030.

"The safety of solid-state batteries will gradually increase. At present, the understanding is not comprehensive. Whether it can achieve inherent safety also needs to be fully verified from the anode, cathode, and other paths," said Li Hong, a researcher at the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He also admitted that the high cost of all-solid-state batteries, stringent production conditions, and insufficient commercial attributes are also restricting the rapid development of solid-state batteries. At the new battery system technology summit, Xu Hangyu, the R&D Director of Weilan New Energy, said, "Solid-state batteries will help electrify transportation and clean up energy, accelerating the third energy revolution." Solid-state batteries refer to power lithium batteries that contain only solid electrolytes and do not contain liquid electrolytes. The industry classifies lithium batteries based on the mass percentage of liquid electrolyte in the battery material into liquid batteries (25%), semi-solid-state batteries (5%-10%), quasi-solid-state batteries (0%-5%), and all-solid-state batteries (0%).

Compared to liquid batteries, solid-state batteries have higher energy density, optimized battery stacking structure Bipolar design, non-flammable, leak-proof higher safety, and the advantages of high-rate fast charging. With the growing volume of the new energy industry, the research and application of solid-state batteries have become the focus of the industry.

However, the new energy industry still has a distance to go to achieve the application of all-solid-state batteries. At the new system battery technology summit, many experts said that there are still many technical difficulties to be overcome in solid-state batteries. Zhu Xingbao, Chief Scientist of Guoxuan High-tech, comprehensively summarized the advantages and disadvantages of solid-state battery development, saying, "Although solid-state batteries have high energy density, high safety, and fast charging and discharging advantages, they are limited by the inherent properties of solid-state electrolytes and electrode materials. The performance of solid-state batteries is currently limited, the solid-solid interface contact is severe, the production line compatibility is low, and the production cost is high." The stability of the interface is an important factor to ensure the safety of the battery. Professor Lu Shigang from Shanghai University said that the difficulty of solid-state battery design is mainly a mechanical issue: "The mechanical properties of active materials and solid-state electrolytes are different, and the mechanical properties of active materials change with composition and structure during charging and discharging. Moreover, the volume change of active materials during charging and discharging also induces deformation, fatigue, fracture, and other mechanical failure behaviors of materials-interface-electrode. The essence of the solid-solid interface densification and stability problem is the mechanical and mechanical-chemical coupling problem of solid-state batteries."

Despite the high difficulty of technical breakthroughs, many scholars and experts at the summit are very optimistic about the development trend of solid-state batteries. Facing the new energy automotive industry, Zhu Xingbao said that the development of future power batteries should be divided into two routes of high energy and high cost-effectiveness. Xu Xiaoxiong also said, "High safety, high performance, and low cost are the inevitable trends for the development of the lithium secondary battery industry. High performance requirements mainly include high energy density, high power, and long life." In terms of low-altitude economy, Liu Min, Chairman of Heyuan Lithium, said, "Different power systems of flying cars correspond to different power demands. Pure electric systems have higher demands for energy-type batteries, and hybrid systems have higher requirements for power-type batteries, mainly reflected in high rate and high energy density, among which the rate is the main demand."

The year 2027 is regarded as a key year for solid-state batteries to begin to meet the demand for large-scale applications. In the field of new energy vehicles, Zhou Anjian, Senior Project Director of Shenlan Technology, said, "At present, China's solid-state battery technology is in the technical germination stage before product introduction. With the support of national projects, the development of all-solid-state will be accelerated, and it is expected to catch up with the level of Japan and South Korea in 3-5 years. It is expected that all-solid-state will be able to be demonstrated on a small scale in 2027 and mass-produced in 2030." Professor Xu Xiaoxiong from Southern University of Science and Technology said, "In the field of low-altitude flight, drones, JY aircraft, flying cars, electric aircraft, etc., there will be a large-scale demand starting in 2027." In addition, according to media reports, China will invest about 6 billion yuan in the research and development of all-solid-state batteries, including six companies such as CATL, BYD, FAW, SAIC, Weilan New Energy, and Geely, which will receive government basic R&D support. A reporter from China Securities Journal confirmed with Geely and Geely responded to confirm participation in the above project.

CITIC Securities Research Report said that if the country provides financial incentives for car companies and battery companies to encourage the research and development of all-solid-state batteries, the process from laboratory to mass production application of solid-state batteries may be accelerated, which will first drive the demand for orders from upstream equipment manufacturers. At present, domestic leading lithium battery equipment manufacturers are actively cooperating with downstream customers to develop solid-state battery equipment and promote the industrialization process of solid-state batteries, which is expected to maintain a leading advantage in the era of solid-state batteries. The solid-state battery industry chain is expected to develop rapidly under policy support.

Source:China Securities Journal

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