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Low-Cost, Robust Battery

University of Michigan

Transitioning Advanced Ceramic Electrolytes into Manufacturable Solid-State EV Batteries

OPEN 2015 Michigan Battery
ARPA-E Award: 
Ann Arbor, MI
Project Term: 
06/09/2016 to 12/31/2019
Project Status: 
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 

Compact, low-cost batteries that store more energy than today's technology will allow electric vehicles to go farther on a single charge, increasing electric vehicle adoption. Rechargeable lithium (Li)-ion batteries are the primary electrochemical storage technology for energy storage in electric vehicles. However, Li-ion technology is not without its drawbacks. Notably, its electrolyte is flammable. Replacing today's volatile liquid electrolytes with a solid-state electrolyte could increase the Li-ion battery's abuse tolerance, reducing the need for expensive, bulky battery thermal management systems and protective structures. This would improve system-level energy density and lower cost. In addition, some new solid-state electrolytes enable the use of metallic lithium as an anode material, increasing energy density further. But solid-state Li-based batteries likely require a solid Li-conducting material, and thus far only ceramics and glasses have demonstrated adequate conductivities at ambient temperatures. Ceramics and glasses, however, are brittle, and manufacturing suitable materials and assembling batteries in large quantities with these materials has proven costly and difficult. Overcoming these manufacturing challenges could reduce the cost of solid-state batteries and help enable greater deployment for transportation and stationary storage applications.

Project Innovation + Advantages: 

The team led by University of Michigan will develop a ceramic electrolyte based on a ceramic oxide that is durable, offers high conductivity (e.g., it moves Li ions easily), and can be used in cells with metallic Li electrodes. The team will develop a technique to fabricate flexible sheets of electrolyte using roll-to-roll manufacturing. The team will also develop thick, solid-composite cathodes and then will integrate them with the electrolyte and a Li anode. Finally, the team will demonstrate the production of numerous cells using the new materials and techniques, and will integrate the cells into a flexible battery stack that is compatible with roll-to-roll manufacturing techniques and exhibits high energy density (900 Wh/L). This project aims to overcome the major challenges at the interfaces of solid components, including poor Li conductivity. The resulting technology could improve energy density and enable an electric vehicle to travel farther on a single charge. The technology also provides a stronger barrier between Li-ion battery electrodes that is capable of withstanding Li-dendrite intrusion to prevent shorts, thereby reducing the chance of battery failure.

Potential Impact: 

If successful, this solid-state electrolyte could increase the driving range and reduce the cost of batteries for electric vehicles, helping to enable much greater deployment of electric vehicles.


Enabling efficient batteries would diversify the resources we rely on for transportation.


Widespread deployment of electric vehicles could reduce harmful pollutants from vehicles and improve air quality.


Low-cost production of solid electrolyte, on the order of $10 per square meter would bring the cost of these solid-state lithium cells to cost-parity with today's lithium-ion batteries.

ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Grigorii Soloveichik
Project Contact: 
Prof. Jeff Sakamoto
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Ford Motor Company
University of Rochester
U.S. Army Research Laboratory
Release Date: