Adden Energy, a start-up founded by Harvard University scientists, recently announced an EV battery prototype that can be fully charged in three minutes and can last for up to two decades.
The company also announced that it has already received a technology license and closed a seed funding round of 5.15 million US dollars for its lithium metal battery.
Adden plans on scaling the EV battery prototype to a palm-sized pouch cell initially. The second stage would involve further scaling up the battery to perform as a full-scale vehicle battery within the next three to five years.
For years now, scientists and researchers have been studying how to utilize the potential of solid-state lithium-metal batteries. The reason is that solid-state lithium-metal batteries can easily hold substantially more energy in the same volume. More importantly, these batteries can be charged in a fraction of the time that traditional lithium-ion batteries take to reach full charge.
Highlights of the EV Battery
- The lab-scale coin-cell prototype from Adden Energy can be charged in three minutes.
- The batter has a service life of more than 10,000 cycles.
- Adden Energy plans on scaling the battery to a palm-sized pouch cell.
- Future plans for the battery are to develop it as a full-scale vehicle battery in the coming three to five.
Xin Li, associate professor of materials science at Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) stated that – “If you want to electrify vehicles, a solid-state battery is a way to go.”
Li also stated that – “We set out to commercialize this technology because we do see our technology as unique compared to other solid-state batteries. We have achieved in the lab 5,000 to 10,000 charge cycles in a battery’s lifetime, compared with 2,000 to 3,000 charging cycles for even the best in class now, and we don’t see any fundamental limit to scaling up our battery technology. That could be a game changer.”
The new battery technology is great news for electric vehicles as the solid-state lithium-metal batteries could increase the lifetime of electric vehicles to the same as gasoline-powered vehicles. What this simply means is that with the new battery design, EVs can last for 10 to 15 years and owners don’t have to worry about replacing the battery for this time duration. And thanks to its high current density, Adden Energy’s battery could provide a way for electric vehicles to be fully charged within 10 to 20 minutes.
Capable of delivering a service life of more than 10,000 cycles, the new type of solid-state battery prototype for electric vehicles has a high energy density. Furthermore, the self-developed lithium-metal battery from Adden has been developed with material stability – this can help it overcome several safety issues that are a cause of concern with some other lithium batteries.
Back in 2019 Adden Energy CEO William Fitzhugh said – “Complete electrification of the vehicle fleet is one of the most meaningful steps we can take to fight climate change. However, the broad adoption of electric vehicles requires batteries that can meet a diverse set of consumer needs. EVs need to recharge at comparable times to internal combustion vehicles, essentially in the time you’d currently spend at the gas pump.”
Adden Energy was founded in 2021 by Xin Li along with William Fitzhugh and Luhan Ye, and Fred Hu, founder, and chairman of Primavera Capital. William Fitzhugh and Luhan Y were both involved in developing the technology as Ph.D. students in Li’s Harvard lab.
The new type of solid-state battery prototype developed at Harvard has at its core several design innovations in the field of solid-state battery and electrolyte production methods that could provide multiple critical advantages for electric vehicles.
Lithium-metal anodes that are typically used in other solid-state battery designs tend to develop dendrites that can slowly penetrate the electrolyte and reach the cathode.
However, the new type of solid-state design of Adden Energy’s self-developed lithium battery has been designed to prevent the development of dendrites before it can cause any damage. Li and his team tackled this challenge by Li and his team designed a multilayer battery that can compress different materials (with varying degrees of stability) between the anode and cathode. This multilayer design of the battery is what helps in preventing the penetration of lithium dendrites. The battery does not completely stop the dendrites completely – what it does is that it helps in controlling the spread of the dendrites and containing their growth.
Because of this new breakthrough, the device is able to maintain high performance over a long period of time – in this case, up to 20 years.
Another important bit of information about the new battery design is that comes with a self-healing capability for the damage caused by the dendrites. How? The chemistry of the batter is such that it supports backfilling of the damage or the holes that are created by the dendrites.
These capabilities of the solid-state lithium-metal battery from Adden Energy are proof that they can compete with commercial lithium-ion batteries that enjoy mass production. However, the flexibility and versatility of the new battery could mean that it can be mass-produced.
Although Adden Energy is working towards scaling its new lithium-metal battery for commercial usage, this process will take some time. There will a number of challenges in achieving this goal. However, with the promising results that the prototype batter has shown, overcoming the challenges is probably only a matter of time.