New generations of lithium-ion batteries will play a vital role of the future energy system by storing energy from intermittent renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. They will also contribute to decarbonization of the transportation sector and be of importance for all portable electronics.
The current standard lithium-ion battery contains an electrolyte of a lithium salt in a liquid organic solvent. Such batteries pose a serious safety risk due to the use of these liquid organics as they are flammable and volatile; thus, any leakage poses a potential hazard. An option to make such batteries safer would be to rather use a solid electrolyte which allows lithium-ion transport through the solid instead of through the liquid, so-called solid-state batteries.
Development of solid-state battery technology with electrolytes that are made of ceramic materials can give fast-charging batteries that are inherently fire-proof, safe during use and tolerant to temperatures. This is of high priority both for use in automobiles, mobile phones, portable laptops, as well as larger household appliances like powerwall battery systems for houses. However, such solid-state batteries are challenging to manufacture. For instance, long heat treatment steps at elevated temperatures cause loss of lithium due to volatilization, leading to a reduced conductivity.
In the LASIBAT project, the objective is to develop a novel manufacturing process for solid-state batteries based on using laser to densify the ceramic electrolyte material at high temperature ("sintering"). Laser sintering will significantly reduce the heat treatment time and avoid lithium volatilization and the formation of unwanted phases, while also reducing the manufacturing time and cost. The LASIBAT project has five partners of which two are from Norway (Cerpotech and SINTEF).
The performance of conventional lithium-ion batteries is hindered by some technical and safety limitations. An alternative is the solid-state battery, where a solid electrolyte layer replaces the organic solvent and the separator. However, solid-state batteries are challenging to manufacture. Long sintering steps at high temperatures can cause reduced electrochemical performance. In LASIBAT, a scalable inline laser sintering process is developed for the manufacturing of solid-state batteries. Functional ceramic materials are adapted to the new and comparably fast laser sintering method. The new processing method is highly relevant for use in production of solid-state lithium-ion batteries for automobile applications or portable devices. The project will provide knowledge about the manufacturing of solid-state battery materials which creates great market potential for European battery manufacturers as well as companies producing and developing laser system technology.