ESG & Industry Updates

Solid State Batteries Could Change the EV Game

Posted by Kelly Burke on Aug 3, 2022 2:01:43 PM

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We're all familiar with both the rise of electric vehicles, and the lingering concerns some have regarding their adoption - namely, driving range, time to recharge, and battery lifetime limits. It's long been assumed that solid state batteries could be the key to solving all of these issues at once, while simultaneously enhancing safety but until recently it looked like it would be quite some time before the technology got to a point where it was scalable and practical. We may have reached that point sooner than expected, however. 

So what even are solid state batteries? . Right now, most EV currently use the familiar lithium ion battery, which uses a liquid or gel electrolyte solution between positive and negative electrodes to both store and release charge. Solid state batteries instead use a solid material for electrons to pass through (ceramic, glass, etc). The lack of liquid/gel allows for holding a  larger amount energy per unit of mass, which means solid state batteries have the potential to increase range. Because of the decreased overall mass (they're roughly half the size of a lithium ion battery) auto manufacturers can allot nearly twice as many batteries to the reserved battery holding areas within the standard EV setup. Additionally, the lack of liquid means more temperature stability for the battery, and removes much of the need for added cooling mechanisms currently in place to avoid the risk of fire & overheating that is present in standard batteries. 

In terms of battery lifetime and the cost to update or replace EV batteries, some manufacturers are estimating that the prototype models they are currently running will be able to stand up to 1000 charges, and with double the battery capacity, the math works out to newer solid state running EVs potentially running a little over half a million miles prior to needing battery replacement. 

The other main highlight is that an additional long standing issue with the move to EV and general electrification has been the impracticality of lithium ion powered heavy freight, long haul trucking, aircraft, or grid level energy storage. By changing the battery variable, that equation may become solvable in time. 

We did an article for Oil & Energy magazine this issue to discuss Solid State Batteries' potential in the EV market, and specifically what Solid Power, one of the industry tech leaders, is doing. You can read that article in its entirety here: Solid State Batteries are Game Changers

For more by way of background on EV batteries and whats going on with that technology - the video below does an excellent job explaining how Lithium, Hydrogen, and Solid State batteries work, and what the benefits and limitations are of each: 

 

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Topics: climate change, electric vehicles, battery, ev, solid state battery

Sterling MA Launches Utility Scale Battery Project

Posted by Ed Burke on Nov 21, 2016 3:00:00 PM

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The Sterling Municipal Light Department in Sterling MA is building the first utility scale battery storage system project in Massachusetts. It's  not only the first in Mass, its also the largest in New England -a 2-megawatt, 3.9 megawatt-hour battery storage system to be exact. Its kind of a big deal!

The system is designed to boost grid resiliency - it will allow the town to be able to "isolate" from the grid and provide up to 12 days of backup power for the police and dispatch center.

Sterling has jumped on with the Governor and the state initiative to embrace energy storage as a comprehensive part of cleaner energy solutions. Sterling has been developing a well balanced energy portfolio, including aggressively installing PV solar in recent years and is currently 7th in the nation in installed PV per capita, so a large scale energy storage project like the one underway makes sense for the town. It should also serve as a fantastic "pilot program" of sorts for other communities looking to launch similar projects.

I wrote an article for Oil & Energy Magazine that goes into more detail about the project, the goals, and the role the state and US Departments of Energy would like to see the project play in moving the country forward on energy storage, especially as it relates to renewables. You can read that article here: "Building New England's Largest Energy Storage Project" 

(For some background on energy storage battery technology, and why its so important for utilities, you can also read: "Persuing the Holy Grails of Battery Tech" )

I look forward to following the project and updating about its success. Congratulations, Sterling MA, on being pioneers in the future of energy in Massachusetts!

  

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Topics: Mass DOER, renewable energy, battery

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