Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has licensed some electrolyte and thin-film coating technologies it developed to battery technology company BTRY, which plans to use them to manufacture lithium-ion batteries. ORNL says the licensing will enable BTRY to “make batteries with increased energy density, at lower cost and with an improved safety profile in crashes.”
Composed of conventional electrolyte and an additive, Safe Impact Resistant Electrolytes (SAFIRE) are designed for EVs and aerospace applications. ORNL says they have an improved safety profile because the SAFIRE electrolyte “solidifies when hit, preventing the electrodes from touching if the battery is damaged. This new stability reduces the need for bulky protective shielding.”
ORNL’s thin-film coating technology is a process of adding silica to a battery before the electrolyte is introduced. Researchers from ORNL and the University of Rochester used perfectly spherical particles of silica 200 nanometers in diameter, which achieve solidification by clumping together.
“You can’t do that with a shear-thickening electrolyte because the minute you try to inject it, it solidifies,” said ORNL researcher Gabriel Veith.