Researchers at the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center has verified findings by Planar Energy that the company said could lead to cost and performance improvements in large format batteries required for practical electric vehicles.
‘AMPAC scientists independently confirmed that Planar Energy’s new generation of solid state electrolytes have ionic conductivity metrics comparable to liquid electrolytes used in traditional chemical batteries,’ said Dr M J Soileau, UCF’s vice president for research and commercialisation, and UCF professor of optics, electrical engineering and physics.
The results show that Planar Energy’s electrolytes demonstrate the same performance level of liquid electrolytes currently used by the lithium-ion industry, in a solid form factor. The company has identified a new class of solid state electrolytes that allow for high-rate batteries required in automotive applications.
Members of Planar Energy’s research team conducted early work in solutions-based materials deposition at the former Bell Labs research centre in Orlando, work that was continued at UCF focusing in the field of low-cost solar films. Planar Energy has been working with UCF researchers on two Florida High Tech Corridor Council matching grants to develop its technology.
‘This fundamental materials breakthrough, coupled with our proprietary low-cost manufacturing process, will render traditional chemical batteries obsolete,’ said Scott Faris, president and CEO of Planar Energy. ‘It will allow solid state battery fabrication that will enable manufacturers to increase their capacity by 200 to 300 per cent, while reducing costs more than 50 per cent. This is what the automotive industry needs to make electric vehicles practical and affordable.’
Planar said the company recognised the potential for making better batteries and funded additional research for energy-storage materials.
‘The underlying technology that enabled our materials breakthrough allows for the direct printing and growth of self-assembling films,’ said Faris. ‘Our technology overcomes the key technical barriers that have rendered solution-based processing impractical. Our partnership with UCF and the FHTCC has enabled us to validate what our team at Planar Energy had previously concluded: that we can cut the cost of manufacturing a battery by 75 per cent while creating efficiency and storage-capacity improvements two or three times greater than conventional processes, most notably those involving lithium-ion.’
AMPAC is an interdisciplinary research and education centre or materials science and engineering, established in 1998.
Planar Energy was founded in Orlando, Florida, US in 2007 as a spin out of the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, by Princeton, New Jersey-based Battelle Ventures and its Knoxville, Tennessee-based affiliate fund, Innovation Valley Partners (IVP).
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