Asahi Kasei works on more conductive electrolyte

The Japanese technology company Asahi Kasei has achieved a successful proof of concept for lithium-ion batteries with a new type of electrolyte with high ionic conductivity. The product will be commercially available as early as 2025.

Image: Asahi Kasei

This technological breakthrough enables batteries to achieve higher performance at low temperatures and an improved service life at high temperatures, according to the company. In addition, it could help reduce the size of battery packs as fewer cells are needed for the same amount of energy as before, in turn reducing cost.

Asahi Kasei tested prototype round cells with the new electrolyte in the laboratory compared to cells with conventional electrolytes. The results are promising: the prototypes are said to have achieved high performance at -40 degrees Celsius and twice the cycle life at 60 degrees Celsius before their state of health (SoH) dropped to 80 per cent. A drop in energy content to 80 per cent of the new value is considered the limit, especially when used in electric cars. It is the benchmark for many warranty promises relating to EV batteries.

“This proof of concept is a technological breakthrough,” says Kazuya Noda, Senior General Manager of Asahi Kasei’s Innovation Strategy Center. “By licensing the electrolyte technology to LIB manufacturers worldwide, Asahi Kasei aims to contribute to lower cost and more compact battery systems, which are a key driver to achieve a more sustainable society.”

The temperature range is also important when using lithium-ion batteries in EVs. The cells (depending on their exact composition) generally achieve their optimum performance between ten and 45 degrees Celsius. If the battery is colder, its performance drops considerably in some cases. If it is too warm, it ages more quickly. Therefore, the battery’s thermal management system must constantly use energy to heat or cool it to remain within this temperature range. If the new electrolyte were to increase this temperature range, the energy requirement for battery conditioning could also be reduced.


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