Commercial lithium batteries were first introduced in 1991 by the Sony Corporation and are used in a wide range of portable electronic, medical and military devices as well as hybrid and electric vehicles. These lithium batteries can provide multiple usages and have had satisfactory performance; however, liquid electrolytes have, in some instances, demonstrated solvent leakage and flammability.
The Miller group has developed a new nanocomposite material for advanced solid polymer electrolyte and electrode design and fabrication of cathodes for lithium batteries that improves safety, increases energy density and reduces complexity and cost of manufacturing compared to conventional liquid or gel electrolytes currently in use.
A key component of the new electrolyte is halloysite, a super-fine aluminosilicate mineral and natural nanotube material that is a unique Utah resource available from Applied Minerals. The halloysite nanocomposite solid-state electrolyte is a thin, almost transparent membrane that will make possible the use of high energy all solid-state lithium batteries over a wide range of temperatures.