Holst Centre betting big on the foil battery

Paul van Gerven
Leestijd: 4 minuten

Can billions of micropillars make for a better battery than we currently have? Yes, Holst Centre believes, after the final piece of the puzzle fell into place in the lab recently. Now, the institute is looking to scale up and commercialize the technology.

A battery can always do better. It can be cheaper, it can hold more energy, it can charge faster or it can have a longer lifespan. So, naturally, battery makers are constantly looking for ways to improve their product and gain an edge over the competition. No doubt, a lot more performance can be squeezed from the familiar electrochemical cell. Still, engineers at Holst Centre feel that in the long run, a transition to a radically different design will get us much closer to the perfect battery. Having made promising strides in the lab recently, the research institute found funding to prove its concept works on a larger scale and can be mass-produced.

The futuristic battery Holst Centre has been working on for about five years already is called a 3D solid-state thin-film lithium-ion battery. It consists of a foil, covered with an array of micropillars, each coated with thin layers of battery materials: lithium-storing electrodes sandwiching an electrolyte. For simplicity’s sake, consider each pillar to be a tiny battery in itself. The main challenge is to make enough pillars – billions and billions of them – so that together they make up a full-fledged battery.

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