From liquid to solid-state batteries: solutions for clean mobility
Solid-state batteries: meeting the growing demand
Solvay is in the driver’s seat developing next-generation materials for liquid and solid-state batteries, meeting the automotive industry’s rising demand for electric vehicles (EV). The world has never needed so many batteries, powering today’s and tomorrow’s sustainable cities, communities and technologies. The EV market foresees an annual global growth of +30% in the next four years — set to make up 80% of the Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery market by 2022.
Solvay’s unique portfolio of solutions tackles the biggest challenges faced by this industry today: developing lighter, safer, long lasting batteries — and all at a low cost.
Better chemistry, more solutions
With specialized laboratories in battery applications and a strong worldwide Research & Development (R&D) presence, Solvay takes a leading position in creating the right chemistry to help power electric cars. The Group’s Research & Innovation (R&I) in energy storage focuses on breakthrough materials and technologies with innovative properties, coupled with an expertise in raw materials, polymers, soft matter and formulations, to develop high performing and safer batteries.
Solvay’s LITFSI® solution, for example, is a key component for Li-ion batteries in liquid as well as in solid electrolytes. The primary difference in composition between liquid and solid-state batteries, an electrolyte, is a chemical compound that conducts electricity - when melted or dissolved - by changing into ions. The Group’s LITFSI® solution provides strong electrochemical properties and high stability (chemical and thermal) that ensure safety and performance in the main end-use applications; from electric vehicles, e-bikes, flat panel screens, smartphones, to laptops.
Furthermore, thanks to the Group’s expertise in fluorine chemistry, a robust portfolio of fluorinated products, and a global multidisciplinary dedicated team, we develop new solutions for the next-generation of liquid-state and solid-state batteries. Solvay’s fluorinated polymer, SOLEF® PVDF, is used to manufacture battery components (binders and separators). The fluorine element in the compound makes the battery fire-resistant, significantly improving its safety when compared to other polymers.
A differentiated product portfolio
The Group’s battery solutions portfolio consists of coatings, binders, ionic liquids, fluorinated solvents and additives, and lithium salt- all key elements in battery composition in both liquid-state and solid-state batteries, with product functionalities tailored to customer needs, while ensuring safety, high performance and cost reduction.
Top-notch materials for Advanced Li-Ion and Solid-State batteries
Driving innovative solutions through partnerships
The battery industry is positioned at the crossroads of a large number of competencies. That is why we are convinced that partnership projects are crucial in combining the expertise from different actors across the value chain. Solvay is involved with various partners in globally funded projects which validate the utilization of its innovative materials in real-world applications. Furthermore, we collaborate with top-level academic research organizations and startups worldwide.
"Our ambition is to provide our customers with new and efficient materials to solve challenges in the field of batteries. At the heart of the prestigious EWHA Womans University, Solvay's R&I Center in Seoul is able to build unique partnerships with customers and key market players", said Larry Hough, Head of the Battery Laboratory.
A solid incubator for next-generation batteries
Solvay’s venture capital fund - Solvay Ventures - recently invested in two startups working on innovative battery solutions. NOHMs Technologies, Inc. was founded to enable integrated custom electrolyte solutions for automotive and mobile devices to trigger innovation with the highest degree of safety possible versus high-temperature exposure.
We invested in SOLID POWER’s technology which is based on a metallic lithium anode and simplified cell architecture. By removing volatile and flammable liquid electrolytes, the company is developing an inherently safer battery which delivers more than twice the energy density compared to the best available rechargeable batteries.
Building a strong European ecosystem
Solvay is teaming up with SAFT Alliance to create a European champion in electrification. By joining forces with SAFT, Manz, Siemens & other actors in the battery sector, we are working on ambitious research, and a development and industrialization program, for new generation batteries, based on advanced high-density Li-ion and solid-state technology.
Last but not least, we joined the European Battery Alliance - the European Commission project launched in October 2017 aimed at tackling production challenges and enabling the competitive clean transition with an estimated value of €250 billion from 2025 onwards.
Our proven expertise will support the Alliance’s EBA250 development program spanning 250 industrial and innovative collaborators - from mining to recycling - reinforcing the common objective to build a strong and competitive battery industry in the heart of Europe.
That said, supporting the European Commission Projects and committing to sustainable development, is not new at Solvay. We are supporting the LIFE+ programs and have joined the Horizon 2020 initiative demonstrating our environmental efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of our own activities and those of our customers’.