From lithium metal to solid-state batteries: How will they be used in the energy transition?

Emilie Bodoin, founder and CEO of Pure Lithium, explains how lithium metal batteries differ from other battery chemistries in the energy transition, as well as the challenges to producing a commercially-viable and truly solid-state battery for use in electric vehicles

In this video interview, founder and CEO of Pure Lithium, Emilie Bodoin, shares her view on how lithium metal batteries differ from other battery chemistries used in the energy transition. Emilie also explains the challenges to producing a commercially-viable and truly solid-state battery for use in electric vehicles (EV).

How do lithium metal batteries differ from other batteries used for energy transition?

Lithium metal batteries differ from other batteries required for the energy transition in myriad ways. Today, we have one predominant battery technology that is lithium-ion. A lithium metal battery has up to ten times the capacity of a lithium-ion graphite anode.

What was a simple design and originally meant to power a handheld electronic device has now been pushed to its absolute maximum limitation. For example, lithium metal batteries can be made into a much larger format, you could power an EV with a hundred single cells rather than the thousands and thousands that are used in today’s lithium-ion battery cars.

Lithium metal is also a complete paradigm shift from what we have today. In our lithium-ion battery, the lithium content is in the positive electrode or the cathode. In lithium metal, you don’t want that. You only want the lithium content on one side of the cell so it’s a balanced system. To utilize the incredible capacity of lithium metal, you need to have a positive electrode material that does not contain lithium.

What are the biggest advantages of solid-state batteries?

Solid-state batteries are so far from commercialization and are filled with challenges. There are theoretical advantages, but we haven’t seen anyone bring a truly solid-state battery to a prototype level.

What are the greatest commercial challenges to solid-state batteries?

  1. Manufacturability of the solid ceramic separator
  2. Difficulty to scale
  3. Limited by design

Despite these, it’s exciting to see lithium metal come to life because it not only has a very long history in the industry, but it has also evolved to be able to help power the future.

Read more about why the EV battery chemistry debate is complicated for the industry

The sharp rise in battery raw material prices has amplified the cost difference between nickel-based CAMs and LFP, increasing interest in LFP-powered EVs. Fastmarkets’ battery manufacturing cost modeller, Muthu Krishna, recently wrote an article exploring why this has caused an increased interest in LFP-powered electric vehicles.

You can read the article here.

Visit our dedicated battery raw materials page to discover more insights on the factors at play in the industry in 2022 and beyond.

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