2018 has been an amazing year for the progress of new scientific breakthroughs. We live to witness the major leapfrog of another new battery technology during our life time since the development of the first lithium ion battery in 1980. Billions of dollars have been invested by many companies seeking to be the first to develop a super battery to overcome the current constraint of limited power storage in our traditional batteries. The solid state battery technology has been the long awaited break through in battery technology that is poised to solve 3 main obstacles hampering the use of electric car, namely, (i) making the range of electric car match the current petrol/diesel car from a single full tank, (ii) cutting down the recharging time of 8 hrs to less than 15 mins and (iii) inadequate safety of the use of current batteries which are prone to fire. Earlier this year, many experts believed that we are at least a decade away from refining the solid state battery technology. It is thus quite shocking when Magnis Resources (a company listed on ASX) announced that they have come up with the world's first working prototype of a solid state battery on 2nd Oct 2018. Mass production is expected to be deployed by 2nd quarter of 2019.
There were many scientists who had initially poured scorn on the solid state battery theory as it defies the law of thermodynamics with regard to the law of conservation of energy. There are in fact other mysterious new scientific technology breakthrough such as the development of EM Drive propulsion system to power future spaceship for interstellar travel which violates the law of Physics (Newtons's 3rd law of motion which states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction).
The successful unveiling of the solid state prototype also means that the solid state battery technology is commercially viable albeit no one can properly explain the theory behind the strange phenomenon. Such battery can also be used in our smart phones. Imagine long lasting power in your smart phones that can be used for up to 1 week eventually without recharging. Also, imagine being able to recharge your smart phones in less than 5 mins.
What are solid state batteries and how are they different from traditional batteries?
This is the latest battery technology that uses both solid electrodes and solid electrolytes, instead of the liquid or polymer electrolytes found in lithium ion batteries. Solid state batteries are believed to be capable of significantly higher energy density to current traditional battery. Solid state batteries are also able to be recharged at a super fast rate and expected to be longer cycle life. In addition, as compared to the flammable liquid electrolytes in traditional battery, a solid state battery uses materials such as glass or ceramics etc which are safer.
|Magnis Resources newly unveiled world's first working solid state battery prototype|
As an example of the capabilities of this technology, the Magnis Resources C4V solid state battery will be capable of delivering a 70% increase in range for electric vehicles when compared to other conventional batteries, thus allowing an electric car with a current 400km range to be able to run 680km on the same single charge.
Impact of solid state battery technology on renewable energy development
The new solid state battery could be the "missing piece" in sustainable energy development. For too long, wind and solar energy generation are unreliable due to the inconsistency of wind or solar at all times of the day. The super batteries can be built into the smart power grid system to store excess electricity generated from such sources at a particular active time and then release the supply of energy at any time of its choosing. The expected tougher durability in terms of the re-use from repeated recharging of a solid state battery is also expected to bring cost down further.
Impact of new battery technological breakthrough on Oil & Gas Industry
With the ever evolution of new battery technology and development of sustainable renewable energy, the reliance on fossil fuel is finally broken and coming to an end. Oil and Gas companies certainly have to prepare for the inevitable downturn of the whole industry in the next 2 decades. I have no doubt that this will be a declining industry. OPEC and other oil producing countries should accelerate plans to restructure their economy from export of fossil fuel that is currently making up the main bulk of their economy and revenue.
Overall, I am extremely excited by the latest announcement of a working solid state battery. With billions of dollars poured into R&D and many companies jumping into the enhancement and development of this battery technology, this will definitely improve renewable energy reliance and also enhance our lives with all the new products with inbuilt super batteries. Expect the prevalent adoption of electric cars worldwide and conversion of petrol station kiosks to electric recharging stations as well as more sustainable energy development. This may also turn out to be the missing key in our own salvation from the dire effects of global warming.