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At the Holst Centre, TNO experts are working with partners to create a revolutionary type of battery based on 3D technology and solid-state. These batteries are intrinsically safe and lightweight, recharge quickly and have a long service life. Large car manufacturers are looking on closely as these batteries represent the ideal solution for electric vehicles in the long run.
The battery experts are building on an older invention by Philips Research. The technology that is currently being worked on is protected by a series of patents and is years ahead of the rest of the world.
Holst Centre specialises in flexible electronics, including thin film technology. Its showpiece is the spatial Atomic Layer Deposition (sALD) technique that TNO has developed with industrial partners. This is a fast method of applying extremely thin layers of a few nanometers on a surface. The solid-state batteries are made up of several billion pillars that are covered with layers of functional material. This creates a 3D construction with a large surface area. The ions now only have to travel a short distance, which makes charging and discharging much faster.
The first applications are expected to be wearables, in which ‘wet’ lithium batteries are still dominant. The advantage of solid-state is that the battery cannot catch fire or explode. In the longer term, larger batteries will be needed for cars. This is in the Dutch interest as the development of batteries for electric vehicles should not be left to other continents. Eventually, a battery factory in Brabant, for example, could provide a great deal of high-grade activity and employment.
Using the proposed safe and compact battery, electric cars will be able to travel three times as far, while charging will be five times faster. The prototype of the first battery is now almost ready. Further development of the 3DSS battery requires a pilot plant, for which investors are being sought. The financial risks are small thanks to the protection of the unique technology by patents, while the global market for the new product is enormous. In addition, the battery contributes to a clean world.