News Devices 06-18-2024 at 11:15 comment views icon

Apple supplier TDK creates high energy density batteries for small devices — 100 times larger than existing ones

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Andrii Rusanov

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Apple supplier TDK creates high energy density batteries for small devices — 100 times larger than existing ones

The Japanese company TDK announces a breakthrough in materials for small solid-state batteries. The Apple supplier predicts a significant increase in the performance of devices ranging from wireless headphones to smartwatches.

The new material provides an energy density of 1000 Wh per liter, which is about 100 times higher than TDK’s existing mass-produced batteries. Since TDK introduced its batteries in 2020, competitors have moved forward with the development of batteries that offer 50 Wh/L, while rechargeable small batteries using traditional liquid electrolytes offer around 400 Wh/L.

«We believe that our newly developed material for solid-state batteries can make a significant contribution to the energy transformation of society. We will continue development towards early commercialization,» says TDK CEO Noboru Saito.

The batteries will be made of an all-ceramic material with a solid electrolyte and lithium alloy anodes. The battery’s high capacity to store electrical charge, according to TDK, would allow for smaller devices and longer runtimes, while offering a high degree of stability and safety. The technology is aimed at replacing the existing pill batteries found in watches and other small electronics. Solid-state batteries are safer, lighter, and potentially cheaper, and offer higher performance and faster charging than batteries with liquid electrolytes.

The mechanical properties, as well as the complexity and cost of mass production, are a challenge for the use of solid oxide batteries in smartphones and other devices. The most significant use case could be in electric vehicles, which would increase the range. Japanese companies are at the forefront of the push to commercialize the technology: Toyota aims to do so by 2027, Nissan a year later, and Honda by the end of the decade.

Car manufacturers are focused on developing sulfide-based electrolytes for electric vehicles, an alternative to the oxide-based materials developed by TDK. However, there is still skepticism about how quickly this technology can be implemented in electric vehicles.

Robin Zeng, founder and CEO of CATL, the world’s largest electric vehicle battery manufacturer, says that solid-state batteries do not perform well enough, are short-lived, and still have safety concerns. TDK, which was founded in 1935 and became universally known as a leading brand in the manufacture of tape cassettes, has long experience in battery materials and technology. It holds between 50% and 60% percent of the global market for low-capacity batteries that power smartphones, and aims to lead the medium-capacity market, which includes energy storage and larger electronics such as drones. The company plans to start shipping prototype samples of the new batteries to customers next year.

Source: Ars Technica, The Financial Times

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