Chemistry can power electric mobility
Building a safe and high-performance battery for electric vehicles
When we see an electric vehicle on the street, we immediately think of its core element – the electric battery. But how many of us know that chemistry played a key role in creating these batteries? A lot of chemical processes are involved in making a battery.
Especially when vehicle engineers embark on a quest to have a safer and higher performance battery for a vehicle, they work closely with the chemical industry to develop technologies that would make the battery more efficient.
Chemicals used inside the battery make batteries charge quicker, be more resistant to heat and remain efficient throughout the years of charging and discharging.
Building a safe and high-performance battery
Special additives, coatings and binders as well composite materials developed by the chemical industry are widely used to make or improve the key elements of an Li-Ion battery – cathode, anodes, and electrolytes. Take, for example, additives which influence the electrochemical reactions in the battery and can therefore affect the battery’s performance.
Overheating of Li-Ion batteries, which reduces the battery’s performance and causes breakdown, can also be solved with chemicals.
Using alternative composite materials instead of metal is another solution developed by the industry to make batteries more efficient. For example, using silicon in the battery’s electrodes could boost the range of electric vehicles by several times.
Looking into future
Electric mobility has advanced rapidly over the past few years. Modern cars can travel up to 400 km without recharging, charge within 25 minutes and last for decades. But if we are to progress with electric mobility, the demand for even more efficient, affordable and safe battery technology will only intensify over the next decades.
Many chemical companies are pooling their research & development efforts into helping create an even better battery. While Li-Ion batteries remain the more promising technology so far, we are also developing other options — for example, solid-state batteries, which can better withstand high temperatures.
We don’t know what kind of technology will power vehicles’ batteries 100 years from now. But it is very likely that whatever technology is used, it will be developed with the help of the chemical industry.
Associated SDG targets