Solid state battery base zirconium: lithium lanthanum zirconate

Solid-state batteries seem to be getting closer, and the news is endless. Including QuantumScape, in which Volkswagen has held a 5% stake since 2014.

On Dec. 8, publicly traded QuantumScape, a startup backed by Volkswagen and Bill Gates, unveiled the performance of its latest solid-state battery after a decade of research. The solid-state battery could also be the first commercially viable solid-state battery, it is claimed. QuantumScape shares jumped on the news.

The solid-state battery, which could increase the range of electric vehicles by 80 percent and charge them to 80 percent in 15 minutes, is set to go into production in 2024. The key is to use flexible ceramic electrolytes instead of liquid electrolytes. Even in temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius, the battery’s performance will not be affected.

That sounds exciting. However, the biggest doubt is that many details of the battery have not been released. Just like the research report of CICC said, the current display is only a single layer, not the battery, so it is impossible to calculate the matching condition of its charging facilities without determining how much power the battery is. Conversely, does QuantumScape just “put a powerpoint satellite”?

QuantumScape described a number of exciting technologies during the presentation. For example, the solid-state battery is a significant improvement over conventional lithium-ion batteries, which can retain more than 80% of their capacity after 800 charges.

In addition, the battery is flame retardant and has a volume energy density of more than 1000Wh/L, nearly twice the density of the top commercial lithium battery packs and four times the current battery used in the Tesla Model 3.

That sounds like a great idea. Even Stan Whittingham, co-founder of the company, inventor of the lithium-ion battery and co-winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in chemistry, said, “The most difficult part of making a solid-state battery is the need to simultaneously meet the multiple requirements of high energy density, fast charging, long cycle life and wide temperature range. The data show that QuantumScape’s solid-state battery fulfills all of these requirements, which has never been reported before. If the company can get this technology into mass production, it has the potential to change the industry.”
However, QuantumScape also hides a lot of things.

For example, according to CICC’s research report, first of all, QuantumScape does not give the specific technical route and detailed battery parameters; Secondly, the Cell sample shown is only a single layer, not a real Cell. That said, it’s just lab data right now.

In terms of materials, based on the layout and publicity of QuantumScape’s patent, QuantumScape’s Solid state Battery route should be a Composite Garnets solid-state Battery in an oxide system. The mainstream electrolyte system is Li3La3Zr2O12 (LLZO), namely lithium lanthanum zirconate.

Moreover, a large number of QuantumScape related patent systems checked by CICC from Google Patents are also lanthanum zirconate lithium oxide. It is also the most likely material to achieve mass production in the current oxide route of solid state batteries, and it is also the branch of the oxide electrolyte system newly discovered after 2007 that is the most stable to lithium metal. Practical aspect, the development of domestic clear pottery, there have been two small production lines of mass production.

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