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Solid-State Lithium-Ion Battery With Ceramic Electrolyte

University of Maryland (UMD)
ARPA-E Award: 
College Park, MD
Project Term: 
01/16/2017 to 10/15/2021
Project Status: 
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 

Driving range, safety, and cost remain the biggest hurdles in the way of mass electric vehicle (EV) adoption. Innovative approaches to EV battery manufacturing present the opportunity to maximize stored energy relative to the weight of EVs, allowing for up to three times the driving range. These new battery designs prevent overheating, are immune to catastrophic failure, and can be incorporated into the structure of a vehicle to improve strength in some cases. Much of this can be accomplished at a 30% lower cost compared to conventional batteries, thus bolstering widespread adoption of EVs.

Project Innovation + Advantages: 

The University of Maryland (UMD) is developing ceramic materials and processing methods to enable high-power, solid-state, lithium-ion batteries for use in EVs. Conventional lithium-ion batteries used in most EVs contain liquids that necessitate the use of heavy, protective components. By contrast, UMD's technology uses no liquids and offers greater abuse tolerance and reducing weight. This reduced weight leads to improved EV efficiency for greater driving range. UMD's technology also has the potential to help reduce manufacturing costs using scalable, ceramic fabrication techniques that does not require dry rooms or vacuum equipment.

Potential Impact: 

If successful, UMD's battery would offer extended battery life and low weight compared to conventional batteries, resulting in substantially improved driving range for EVs.


The mass adoption of EVs would diminish the demand for petroleum, dramatically reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.


Greater use of EVs would reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, 28% of which come from the transportation sector.


Technological advancements from the RANGE program could enable EVs to travel significantly further on a single charge at a much lower cost than that of current EVs and conventional vehicles.

Innovation Update: 

(As of May 2018)
UMD assembled a multi-disciplinary team to address the challenges associated with garnet-ceramic based solid-state batteries. The team built a tri-layer electrolyte structure from Li7La3Zr2O12 (LLZO) with a porous structure for both the positive and negative electrodes and a solid electrolyte sandwiched between them to prevent dendrite growth. This structure supports provide mechanical strength and helps overcome impedance by dramatically increasing the surface area between the two. The team also deposited a thin aluminum oxide coating to reduce resistance to both electrodes and prevent water from reacting with the lithium in the garnet. Analysis indicates that the team’s solid-state battery system could be cost competitive with traditional Li-ion batteries. Moreover, this battery would require fewer control and protection systems, which decreases the costs and weight of the system.

The technology has generated interest from the automotive, aeronautical, consumer electronic, and aerospace industries. UMD has spun-off a company, Ion Storage Systems, which has begun fabricating sample cells and distributing them to potential customers. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are a likely first market because UAVs require higher energy density and the market can bear the higher cost associated with initial low-volume production.


For a detailed assessment of the UMD project and impact, please click here.


ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Grigorii Soloveichik
Project Contact: 
Dr. Eric Wachsman
Trans-Tech, Inc.
Release Date: