Chemical and Engineering News has chosen CU Boulder spin-off company Solid Power as one of the Top 10 start-ups of 2017. The business grew out of research conducted by professors Sehee Lee and Conrad Stoldt on solid electrolyte batteries.
Automakers have their pedals to the metal when it comes to developing battery-powered cars, but electrochemists still have their work cut out to deliver the battery performance and safety that large-scale adoption requires.
Current lithium-ion batteries typically operate with a lithium-ion cathode, graphite anode, and liquid electrolyte. But liquid electrolytes can become dangerously hot and catch fire. A safer solution—and one that could also facilitate greater energy density—is to switch to a solid electrolyte.
Enter Solid Power. The company says its lithium-sulfide solid electrolyte can be produced at about the same cost as a liquid electrolyte. And batteries containing the solid electrolyte can store more energy than traditional batteries of the same size.
In tests, Solid Power’s electrolyte operates safely at temperatures of about 150 °C—an environment in which many liquid electrolytes would catch fire...