621 Miles on a 10-Minute Charge: The Promise of Silicate Batteries for EVs

Image Credit: Frida Gregersen

The surge in electric vehicle (EV) adoption is paving the way for a cleaner and more sustainable future. In 2023, the United States saw a record-breaking 1.4 million EV registrations, marking a 40% increase from the previous year, according to the International Energy Agency.

Transitioning from gasoline-powered vehicles to EVs significantly reduces pollution from exhaust emissions, thereby improving air quality. However, challenges remain, particularly with EV battery technology. Lithium-ion batteries, the most common type, are costly, relatively rare, and their extraction has environmental consequences.

In the quest for more sustainable battery alternatives, researchers are exploring new materials. One promising development comes from Mohamad Khoshkalam at the Technical University of Denmark, who has created a battery using rock silicates, one of the most abundant materials on Earth.

Khoshkalam’s research, highlighted by TechXplore, demonstrates that potassium and sodium silicates can serve as solid-state electrolytes. These materials are resilient to air and humidity and can be manufactured into thin, paper-like structures suitable for batteries.

Despite the large size and slow movement of potassium ions, which typically hinder electrolyte conductivity, Khoshkalam’s innovative “superionic” formulation accelerates ion movement, surpassing the performance of traditional lithium-based electrolytes. This breakthrough offers a cheap, efficient, eco-friendly, and scalable solid-state solution.

Although it may take about a decade for this technology to be implemented in EVs, with prototypes expected in the next two years, the potential benefits are substantial. These solid-state batteries could enable a driving range of approximately 621 miles on a single 10-minute charge.

Automakers like Toyota are also pursuing solid-state battery technology to achieve similar performance improvements. The key advantage of Khoshkalam’s approach lies in the use of abundant and inexpensive materials, which could significantly reduce production costs.

In summary, advancements in battery technology, like Khoshkalam’s silicate-based solid-state batteries, promise to overcome current limitations, making EVs a more attractive and viable option for a broader audience.