Conventional lithium-ion batteries demonstrate great potential for energy storage applications but they face some major challenges such as low energy density and cycle life. It is meaningful to pursue alternative strategies to address these barriers. In this project, we will design and develop high energy Li-metal battery using solid electrolytes that may lead to high energy density (300-400 Wh/kg, system level), long cycle life (>10,000 cycles) and better safety. We will start with two categories of novel solid electrolytes: one is a Li-rich garnet Li7La3Zr2O12 electrolyte (LLZO); the other is alkali ion plastic crystal electrolyte (PCE). Both systems have demonstrated high Li-ion conductivity (>1 mS/cm) at room temperature, and high electrochemical stability. Flexible composite solid electrolyte separators based on LLZO will be developed using electrospinning. The PCE will be applied as an adhesive layer between the solid electrolyte separator and the electrode to reduce the interfacial resistance. The solid electrolyte will be integrated with high voltage cathode and Li metal anode to construct full cells for performance evaluation.
If successful, the proposed battery technology can be used as energy storage solutions for NASA’s Electrified Aircraft Propulsion (EAP), with much higher energy density and longer cycle life than conventional Li-ion batteries. More specifically, this battery storage technology can be used for landers, construction equipment, crew rovers, and science platforms and many other NASA applications.
The proposed battery technology can also be used for electrical vehicles. It may directly facilitate the commercialization of electrical vehicles as two major barriers of cost and energy density will be addressed. They may also be applicable in the consumer market to portable electronics and communication devices.