APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Lithium batteries
- Low-intensity thermal processing for fabrication
- Direct cathode recycling
- High capacity retention
- Solid electrolytes have the potential to improve battery safety, yet complicate battery recycling efforts. Deconstructing solid-state batteries (SSBs) to physically separate cathode and solid-electrolyte particles remains intensive due to its required high temperature and high pressure thermal fabrication process, as does the remanufacturing of cathodes and separators from the recovered materials. It is also a significant challenge to recycle cathodes directly from SSBs, as is practiced for batteries featuring liquid electrolytes. Solid electrolytes whose properties facilitate SSB manufacturing as well as deconstruction and recycling at end-of-life, while offering sustainable SSB performance in the use-phase, are urgently needed.
Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a supramolecular solid electrolyte that enables closed-loop cathode recycling and can be used to create an easily recyclable all solid-state lithium battery. This organo ionic (ORION) electrolyte is a viscoelastic solid at operating temperatures (–40 to 45 °C) but transitions into a viscoelastic liquid at 100 oC, enabling a low-intensity thermal fabrication process that creates conformal interfaces to both electrodes. By heating the cell to 100 oC after assembly, the electrolyte becomes a viscoelastic liquid to wet the cathode and retains strong interfaces after cooling back to ambient temperature.
Designing the cell like this also allows for these batteries to be recycled through a process known as direct cathode recycling, which is the most material and energy efficient recycling method currently available. The battery can be fully discharged such that the lithium metal anode is depleted, leaving only the electrolyte and cathode to be recycled.
In testing, the cell demonstrated 82% capacity retention after 100 cycles and was then recycled. After recycling, the refurbished cell had 90% of its initial, pristine capacity and exhibited 84% capacity retention after another 100 cycles at its second life. Solid-state Batteries designed with ORION conductors achieve manufacturing, performance, and end-of-life recycling circularity.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Basic principles demonstrated
- Brett Helms
- Jiwoong Bae
- Dong-Min Kim
- Jiajun Yan
STATUS: Patent pending.
OPPORTUNITIES: Available for licensing or collaborative research.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: (paper)