A feasible way towards safer, better-performing batteries?
SOLID-STATE BATTERY - DRIVERS AND APPLICATIONS
Conventional Li-ion battery technologies, based on flammable liquid electrolytes, are continuously improving. However, faster progress towards greater safety, higher performance, and better cost reduction is desired. A next-generation battery technology like solid-state battery, which uses solid electrodes and solid electrolytes, could potentially satisfy these objectives.
The main drivers for solid-state battery development are safety (especially in space, aerospace, and automotive applications, as well as some consumer applications), added-value differentiation (especially for EV/HEV), and the increasing difficulties faced by conventional Liion cell technology in further increasing battery energy density without compromising safety. Solid-state battery’s commercialization and market growth will depend on its added-value differentiation gap compared to conventional Liion batteries, which differs for each application analyzed in this report: EV/HEV, space, aerospace, and consumer electronics.
WHY IS SOLID-STATE BATTERY DEVELOPMENT ACCELERATING?
Solid-state battery is not a new technology - in fact, the first research activities date to the late 1950s. Solid-state battery technology has found applications in the form of microbatteries as a micro-power source for sensors, etc. (not analyzed in this report). Unfortunately, the materials and manufacturing methods used for microbattery’s fabrication are extremely difficult to translate into bulk-size battery manufacture on a cost-effective basis.
Today, there is no commercially-available bulk solid-state battery (not including the polymerbased solid-state batteries from Bolloré Group, which must be heated to 60 - 80°C). Over the last several years, numerous different players have made announcements regarding the readiness of prototype cells and expected commercialization starts, only to see these ultimately be cancelled or postponed. And despite decades of development, many technology challenges remain unsolved, as shown in this report. So why do we see such a strong, growing interest in solid-state battery development and commercialization? What are the key drivers here?
According to Yole Développement’s analysis, the main cause of this momentum is the strong application-pull of game-changing battery industry players: the EV/ HEV makers. Established automotive players (Toyota, Volkswagen BMW, etc.) and newcomers (i.e. Dyson, Fisker) plan to commercialize EV/ HEV with a battery that will be safer, lighter, and longer-running than conventional Li-ion battery. A growing number of players involved in solidstate battery development is another reason for increased momentum, as are a variety of newlyestablished solid-state battery consortiums.
Numerous industry players (23 companies in the Japanese Libtec consortium alone!) and R&D players from different areas are combining their efforts, each bringing a piece of technology knowhow. Indeed, sharing know-how from four main technology areas is crucial for bringing solid-state battery to commercialization. Also, large coverage of multiple topics by different players is important for solid-state battery, enabling accelerated evaluation of different technology approaches and concentration on the most promising ones.
WHO MAKES WHAT IN SOLID-STATE BATTERY TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT?
Regarding solid-state battery technology development, there are many technology bricks involved, including electrolyte material screening, ionic conductivity enhancement, electrolyte/electrode interface stability, lithium metal anode, separator coating, cell and pack manufacturing methods, battery management system (BMS), and battery pack design.
According to Yole Développement’s analysis, there are more than 100 companies and R&D players involved in solidstate battery development (Fig.3). For an emerging technology, it might be surprising to see that only 14 of 68 industrial companies identified are startup companies (Ionic Materials, NEI Corporation, QuantumScape, etc.). These start-ups are positioned mainly in electrolyte material screening and development. R&D activities are rapidly developing within big companies, 54 of which have been identified by Yole Développement. The main big companies are car makers: Toyota, BMW, Volkswagen, Renault- Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, and Hyundai. Toyota, with a strong solid-state development history and 200+ engineers working on solid-state battery technology, is considered a leader here.
Strong participation from EV/HEV makers is extremely important for solid-state battery commercialization. Besides huge market potential, they bring to solidstate battery development know-how regarding EV/ HEV battery requirements, battery pack assembly, testing, and qualification. And in fact, the simplification of battery pack design and its components will improve solid-state battery’s cost-competitiveness compared to conventional Li-ion batteries. Other players include conventional Li-ion battery cell manufacturers (i.e. Samsung SDI, LG Chem, A123 Systems), battery separator technology solutions suppliers (Asahi Kasei), and materials suppliers (Solvay, Umicore, etc.). According to Yole Développement’s market forecast, mass production of solid-state batteries will begin by 2022 and represent less than 1% of Li-ion battery demand by 2025. This might explain the relative low interest from equipment suppliers, which might change later on when the building of large solid-state battery manufacturing capacities commences.
Objectives of the Report
This report’s objectives are to:
- Offer deep insight into the key drivers and value proposition of solid-state battery technologies, compared to conventional Li-ion batteries
- Provide an analysis of the remaining challenges to bringing solid-state battery to commercialization
- Present the main applications and different approaches for solid-state battery commercialization
- Furnish a market forecast for solid-state battery
- Deliver an overview of different solid-state electrolyte materials and manufacturing methods for solid-state battery cells
- Identify the solid-state battery supply chain’s main trends. Provide a detailed analysis of the supply chain, including main R&D and industrial players, partnerships, and business approaches.