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Solid-State Batteries: Transforming Maritime Safety

SOLiTHOR's advancements in solid-state batteries are enhancing maritime safety and potentially driving the industry towards decarbonization targets with safer, high-performance energy solutions.

Maria Guerra, Senior Editor-Battery Technology

May 29, 2024

4 Min Read
marine solid state batteries
Solid-state batteries offer a safer alternative to Li-ion batteries for the marine industry.surasak petchang/ iStock / Getty Images Plus

The maritime industry is undergoing a significant transformation as it strives to meet the stringent decarbonization targets set by the International Marine Organization (IMO). A critical component of this transformation is adopting advanced battery technologies that provide efficient, reliable, and safe power sources for marine vessels. Among these emerging technologies, solid-state batteries stand out as a promising solution for addressing the safety concerns of traditional lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries.

Safety concerns with lithium-ion batteries

Li-ion batteries have been the solution for various applications due to their high energy density and compact size. However, their use in the maritime industry poses significant safety risks. These batteries are flammable and can enter a state of thermal runaway, leading to fires and explosions. This risk is intensified in marine environments where emergency response capabilities are limited. A fire at sea is particularly risky, as it can spread rapidly and release toxic gases such as hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen cyanide, and hydrogen chloride, posing severe threats to the crew and environment.

Advantages of solid-state batteries

Solid-state batteries offer a safer alternative to Li-ion batteries, addressing many of the latter's critical issues. Unlike Li-ion batteries, which use a flammable liquid electrolyte, solid-state batteries use a solid electrolyte. This fundamental difference significantly reduces the risk of fire and explosion, making them inherently safer. Additionally, solid-state batteries can operate at higher temperatures and are less prone to degradation, which enhances their durability and reliability in harsh marine environments.

Related:Advanced Binders for Ultra-Thin Sulfide Solid State Batteries

Performance and efficiency

Beyond safety, solid-state batteries also promise improved performance and efficiency. They can offer higher energy densities, allowing for longer operational times and reducing the frequency of recharging. This capability is crucial for maritime applications, where vessels often undertake long voyages and require substantial power. The compact design of solid-state batteries has the potential to support space-saving on board, which is a valuable attribute for ship design and operational efficiency.

SOLiTHOR’s advances in solid-state batteries

Solid-state batteries are still developing and face challenges before widespread adoption. Current limitations include a shorter service life and higher manufacturing costs than traditional batteries. However, ongoing research and development are focused on overcoming these obstacles, and significant progress is being made.

Related:On The Road to Better Solid-State Batteries

Recently, SOLiTHOR—a battery manufacturer—has made significant strides in advancing solid-state battery technology. One of its notable achievements is the development of an all-solid-state lithium metal Gen1 prototype pouch cell. According to the company, this prototype has reached a milestone of 500 full charge-discharge cycles with less than 7% capacity loss and continues to cycle further. These ongoing tests were conducted in SOLiTHOR’s laboratories at ambient temperature conditions of 25°C with an applied external pressure of 72 psi.

marine solid state batteries

The industry standard targets for this development phase are 700 charging cycles with a maximum capacity loss of 20%. The battery manufacturer is optimistic about achieving this target soon. According to Fanny Bardé, CTO of SOLiTHOR, “This endurance test is a crucial stepping stone as it proves the durability of our product and the stability of our chemistry at ambient temperature, bringing long-range electric vehicles closer to consumer requirements. The final result of this development could be a battery cell that enables long ranges.”

In addition to cyclability, SOLiTHOR has also achieved impressive energy density metrics, developing cells with 785 Wh/L and 318 Wh/kg at the stack level. These high energy densities are crucial for applications requiring lightweight and compact energy storage solutions, such as in the aviation and maritime industries. Huw Hampson-Jones, CEO of SOLiTHOR, highlighted the strategic importance of these developments: “These technical developments underpin the strategic thrust of the all-solid-state lithium metal cell technology for use by the aviation and maritime sectors. The collaboration with aircraft manufacturers and naval architects is providing the impetus behind these results and provides the confidence to our clients for key performance targets in the coming two years. It also means that SOLiTHOR is getting closer and closer to developing all-solid-state technology for the entire electromobility sector.”

Related:Inside Nuvvon’s Unique Solid-State Battery

Battery manufacturers’ advancements, such as the one just made by SOLiTHOR, suggest a promising future for solid-state batteries. They offer a safer, high-performance, and durable alternative to traditional lithium-ion batteries. As these technologies continue to evolve, they could significantly enhance the maritime industry's efforts to meet decarbonization targets and improve operational safety.

About the Author(s)

Maria Guerra

Senior Editor-Battery Technology, Informa Markets Engineering

Battery Technology Senior Editor Maria L. Guerra is an electrical engineer with a background in Oil & Gas consulting and experience as a Power/Analog Editor for Electronic Design.  Maria graduated from NYU Tandon School of Engineering with a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE). She combines her technical expertise with her knack for writing. 

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