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PATHION develops new LiRAP-based solid-state electrolytes for Li-sulfur and sodium-ion batteries

At the Spring 2015 Materials Research Conference in San Francisco earlier this month, PATHION presented two new derivative superionic solid-state electrolytes built upon LiRAP (Lithium-Rich Anti-Perovskite). PATHION has an exclusive worldwide license for LiRAP from Los Alamos National Laboratories. Supported by an ARPA-E grant, LiRAP has proven to be a safe alternative compared to the liquid electrolytes used in most of today’s lithium ion batteries.

Solid-state electrolytes, unlike liquid-state, have extremely low expansion, no out-gassing, and the elimination of dendrite growth between anode and cathode, although sometimes at the expense of performance. The LiRAP solid electrolytes conduct Li+ ions well at high voltage and high current, providing much enhanced energy density and power capacity as well as safety. PATHION is working on a derivative for Li-sulfur batteries as well as a derivative that could be applied in a sodium-ion battery.

Lithium sulfur. The first PATHION presentation described the role of LiRAP in a solid-state lithium-sulfur electrolyte. Barriers to commercialization of high energy density Li-sulfur batteries are fast capacity fading (stability) and low cycling efficiency mainly due to a complicated reaction mechanism which involves different soluble lithium polysulfides.

A doped or optimized Li3ClO-based glass electrolyte can serve as a barrier to halt the diffusion of polysulfides into the lithium. Besides using the doped or optimized Li3ClO-based glass electrolyte, PATHION also prepared a highly efficient sulfur cathode which allows for an increased sulfur loading of up to 6.9 mg cm-2.

In combination, this cathode and electrolyte have resulted in a significant improvement in charge efficiency with a longer cycle life. Such a lithium sulfur battery could achieve specific energy levels up to 800 Wh/kg, compared to about 250 Wh/kg from the best commercial Li-ion cells today. In addition, the new lithium sulfur-based material can be applied either in a battery or a supercapacitor.

LiGlass. The second presentation described the use of a solid electrolyte in a sodium-ion battery cell. On a performance basis, LiGlass exhibits ultrafast ionic conductivities at room temperature and up to 200°C, which can lead to energy densities that exceed 1,000 Wh/kg.

PATHION technology executive Andy Murchison led these development efforts with the support of Helena Braga and Jorge Ferreira of the University of Porto, who were operating under a work-for-hire agreement with PATHION.

LiRAP. Researchers at Los Alamos originally proposed a novel class of superionic solid electrolyte made of lithium rich anti-perovskites (LiRAP) to work with metallic Li-anodes and readily rechargeable cathodes. The new materials feature immense Li+ vacancies and lattice imperfections in the crystal lattice for fast ionic transporting with low energy barriers.

The principal investigators at Los Alamos invented novel lithium-rich compounds—Li3OCl, Li3O(Cl,Br) and related anti-perovskites that demonstrated 3D superionic conductivity, a broad working window, economic viability, and environmental friendliness.

Resources

  • M.H. Braga, J.A. Ferreira, V. Stockhausen, J.E. Oliveira, A. El-Azab (2014) “Novel Li3ClO based glasses with superionic properties for lithium batteries” J. Mater. Chem. A 2, 5470-5480 doi: 10.1039/C3TA15087A

  • Xujie Lü, Gang Wu, John W. Howard, Aiping Chen, Yusheng Zhao, Luke L. Daemena and Quanxi Jia (2014) “Li-rich anti-perovskite Li3OCl films with enhanced ionic conductivity” Chem. Commun., 50, 11520-11522 doi: 10.1039/C4CC05372A

Comments

HarveyD

How long will it take to bring those superior perfromance solid state batteries to the market place?

Is it possible by 2020? Who will be lincensed to make them?

If so, the world may have extended range BEVs.

Brotherkenny4

There is a number that can be measured that can tell us whether this is a real breakthrough or an attempt to spin up interest so as to garner financial support. That number is the ionic conductivity of the material in seimen per centimeter. Very good solid state ionic conductors have ionic conductivities of about 1X10-4. This is not good enough for EVs though. If this were a true breakthrough, they would report that number. On the other hand, solid state electrolytes might work for stationary batteries if a low cost and realistic manufacturing method can be developed. They are longshots to be used for EV batteries.

gryf

According to the 2015 MRS Spring Meeting abstract, the PATHION Na3ClO - based glass electrolyte exhibits in one of its variants presents ultrafast ionic conductivities of 50 mScm-1 at 23 °C.

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