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The approach of the two teams is the same in principle, but the German scientists seem to be one step ahead. In fact, the Jülich Research Center in North-Rhine Westphalia presented an impressive lithium-ion battery with a special type of ceramic as the electrolytes as early on as 2015 . The U.S. researchers in Michigan are using this principle for their lithium-metal battery. But Jülich is now taking yet another leap forward: For the Research Center’s new solid-state battery, the anode, cathode, and electrolyte are all made from different compounds of phosphate. This allows charging rates that are 10 times faster than described to date in the literature. The charging time also drops from ten to twelve hours to less than one. Another advantage is that the materials are easy to process and comparatively cheap.

After more than 500 charging and discharging cycles, the new cell from Jülich still delivers around 84% of its original capacity, demonstrating how robust it is. The researchers believe that the loss can be reduced to less than 1%. The energy density can also be optimized further; currently, it is slightly below that of the latest lithium-ion batteries. There are plenty of potential areas of application in addition to electric mobility – portable computers, for example, medical technology and the smart-home sector.

These latest research achievements are confirmed in a report by vision-mobility.de . After being a “Sleeping Beauty for almost a century,” battery and fuel-cell technology has woken up and is now taking giant strides forward, as efficient energy storage technologies will be in urgent demand in the next few years.