https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/climateconnections/CX220307.mp3

Many consumers want electric cars that cost less and go farther on a single charge. Researchers hope to make that happen by developing what are known as solid-state batteries.

As their name suggests, solid-state batteries contain solid instead of liquid electrolytes. Amy Prieto of Prieto Battery says that does two things.

“It lets you store more energy in a smaller volume. But it also makes the batteries a lot safer because that liquid is usually flammable,” she says.

But developing solid-state technology is challenging.

“And there are some really fundamental materials science problems that people have been working on for a really long time that are just very difficult to solve,” she says.

Prieto’s approach is to combine the compounds needed to make a battery in a unique structure.

“Instead of thin films that get stacked or rolled the way a normal battery is made, we are starting with a spongy structure that’s really porous,” she says. “And that way we can pack a lot of the different components of the battery into that architecture.”

The company has created a working prototype. Like products developed by many other battery startups, it’s not yet ready for commercialization. 

But if solid-state batteries eventually do make it to the mass market, the technology could revolutionize the electric car industry.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media