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Solid-State EV Batteries Gain Momentum

Article-Solid-State EV Batteries Gain Momentum

Image courtesy of ProLogium signing ceremony
Vincent Yang, founder and CEO of ProLogium (right), with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Choose France Summit in Dunkirk.
Packing more power density, the next-generation battery format has multiple implications for plastic-based component use.

Taiwan’s ProLogium, an energy innovation company specializing in R&D and manufacturing of next-generation solid-state batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), has chosen France as the location of its first large-scale solid-state battery manufacturing facility outside of its home country. Signaling the importance of this $5.6 billion investment, French President Emmanuel Macron was on hand to welcome the solid-state battery pioneer’s 48-GWh gigafactory project at an investment summit in Dunkirk in mid-May.

ProLogium’s objective is threefold: To put down roots in Europe, mass-produce next-generation EV batteries, and support the energy transition of the EU automotive industry, as internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle sales will be banned by 2035.

Solid-state batteries overcome limitations

Compared with traditional lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) that use a liquid electrolyte, solid-state batteries may represent a path forward from current EV limitations, as they reportedly demonstrate better safety, durability, and a faster charge. The ProLogium battery design, for example, replaces the “fragile and flammable” separator and liquid electrolyte in current LIBs with a robust ceramic separator and nonflammable solid-state electrolyte. The fragile and flammable separator in question is typically fabricated from ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), and converters of this thin-film product have been investing heavily in production capacity globally in anticipation of accelerating growth in the EV market.

Charging time under 15 minutes

A long-term transition to solid-state technology may force a rethink of future investment plans. Automakers such as Nissan and battery technology developers like QuantumScape are planning commercialization toward the end of the decade with technologies that will deliver higher energy densities, charging times under 15 minutes, and battery cost reduced to $75 per kWh in 2028 and $65 per kWh, thereafter, placing EVs at the same cost level as gasoline-powered vehicles.

Solid-state batteries also have different thermal profiles during charging and operation, which will have implications on cooling requirements, according to industry experts. Conventional lithium-ion batteries may employ cooling pipes and plates made of engineering plastics, such as high-temperature polyamide (PA) and polyphenylene sulfide (PPS). Some of the materials can operate in environments with temperatures up to 130°C/266°F. A quick review of academic papers by PlasticsToday indicates that some solid-state lithium-ion batteries operate at significantly lower temperatures.

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