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17 Oct 2022 • 2 min read

Metergram Insights: New Battery Prototype Promises Leap in Performance & Reliability

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Even with decreased charging times, the EV market is still far behind the Internal combustion engine vehicle market when it comes to “refueling.” However, a startup named Adden Energy has been developing a solid-state battery system for future EVs that could be a game changer.

A Harvard Jonh A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences report reveals that Harvard’s Office of Technology Development had granted an exclusive technology license to Adden Energy. This license and $5.15 million in venture funding will be used by Adden Energy to scale up a battery prototype toward commercial deployment. The lab-scale coin-cell prototype was developed by researchers in the lab of Xin Li, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Materials Science at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Xin Li, along with William Fitzhugh and Luhan Ye, worked on developing the technology as graduate students in Li’s Harvard lab before co-founding Adden Energy. 

The prototype is exciting because it has achieved charging rates as fast as three minutes with over 10,0000 cycles in a lifetime. In addition, the prototype also features high energy density, and its material stability makes it much safer than other lithium batteries. Adden Energy plans on first scaling the battery up to a palm-sized pouch cell, with a full-scale vehicle battery expected in the next three to five years. Li believes their technology is unique compared to other solid-state batteries due to the charge cycles in the battery’s lifetime they were able to achieve in the lab. Currently, even the best in class now only manages 2,000 to 3,000 charging cycles, while their technology was able to deliver 5,000 to 10,000. 

Some of the most important issues highlighted in the report are:

  • 37% of Americans don’t have garages at home, making at-home overnight charging impossible.
  • In 2019, 29% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions were produced by transportation.
  • Lithium-metal anodes in many solid-state designs develop dendrites that can penetrate through the electrolyte to the cathode.
  • The U.S. won’t have a used-car market if EV batteries last only 3 to 5 years.

The Adden Energy battery can address these issues in the following ways:

  • Deliver a recharge rate comparable to internal combustion vehicles
  • Accelerate electrification of the vehicle fleet as a meaningful step in fighting climate change
  • Features novel structural and material designs to defeat the growth of dendrites before they can cause damage
  • Extending the lifetime of EV batteries and making them more accessible to everyone 

Only time will tell if Adden Energy is successful in its mission, but it certainly seems promising. The complete news report can be viewed here: https://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2022/09/fast-charging-over-10000-cycles-future-electric-vehicles-harvard-engineers-solid-state

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