It has been revealed, though unofficially, that Samsung‘s battery manufacturing arm known as Samsung SDI will soon start manufacturing solid-state batteries in the next one or two years. An unnamed executive disclosed to the Korean Herald that the tech giant will begin the manufacture in the next one or two years. The Samsung SDI-developed Solid-state batteries would first feature on smartphones but the executive hinted that it all depends on Samsung whether it will be used for phones.
Solid-state batteries are a product of the future which is tipped to replace lithium-ion batteries currently being used in smartphones and a number of other tech gadgets. Solid-state batteries generally fall into the low-power density and high-energy density category. The low power limitation arises due to the difficulty of getting high currents across solid–solid interfaces. But the advantages these batteries have far outweigh this difficulty which is the only major disadvantage.
One advantage Solid-state batteries have over the regular liquid electrolyte batteries is that they are easy to miniaturise and can come in thin film form. Since they are in solid states, there is no problem with electrolyte leakage. Another advantage is that they tend to have very long shelf lives, and usually, do not have any abrupt changes in performance with temperatures. There is no likely scenario of electrolyte freezing or boiling. Due to the high power-to-weight ratio the batteries can exhibit, they may be ideal for use in electric vehicles. They are estimated to have two-to-three times the energy density of existing automotive batteries but solid-state batteries for electric cars may likely take till 2025 before they hit the market as a result of the more stringent safety constraints.
The biggest advantage of the upcoming batteries, and perhaps the most important to Samsung at the moment, is that they have a much lower risk of catching fire and exploding since they are made from solid instead of liquid electrolytes. Since the Galaxy Note 7’s battery explosion saga, battery safety has become a major concern lately and Samsung may just have found the solution.
Apart from Samsung SDI, there are a few other companies working on the new battery technology such as LG Chem. The rival Korean company are tipped to start producing them around the same time. But as usual, Samsung is expected to blaze the trail on this innovative new technology in a faster and more effective manner. We’ll have to wait to see if the Solid-state batteries are good enough to compete with conventional batteries in term of capacity, lifespan and charging speed. If that is possible, we may just see it in a flagship model but first, the Korean powerhouse is expected to feature the new technology on low-end phones. Perhaps, the future-gen Tizen-powered Samsung Z-series could pioneer the technology.