Some might call it necessary progress. Others will most likely see it as trauma. Whichever way you look at it, Samsung’s misfortune might indirectly benefit the smartphone industry, even the battery industry, as a whole. Samsung SDI, the company’s beleaguered battery making arm, is now reported to be a year or two away from producing solid state batteries that will no longer cause smartphones, or even electric vehicles, to explode.
The case of the Exploding Galaxy Note 7 really only highlighted a fact that has actually been true far longer than the phablet has been in existence. The lithium-ion batteries that powers our electronic devices and even electronic cars have always been fire hazards. That mostly boils down to the fact that the liquid electrolyte used in these batteries are extremely volatile.
So one of the solutions is to replace that liquid component with a solid one, hence the name solid-state battery. Such a battery wouldn’t overheat or explode as there is no opportunity for short circuiting. They’re also supposed to be more compact as there are less components need to ensure the electrolytes don’t bleed into places where it shouldn’t.
Ideal as they may be, solid-state batteries aren’t exactly that easy or economic to mass produce. Not to mention that many of its properties are still in development to date. Samsung SDI, however, is confident that it has reached a point where it will take only around two years before such a large scale production can begin. It won’t be alone, however, as rival LG Chem is also on this timetable.
Whether this type of battery will be used in Samsung smartphones is something for Samsung Electronics to decide. It’s not hard to imagine there might be a bit of tension between these two Samsung companies after the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco. However, smartphone batteries aren’t the only things Samsung SDI is making. It could also be making solid-state batteries for EVs, though it might have to compromise with a “solid-like” battery with some liquid electrolytes in order to keep costs down and yields high.
SOURCE: Korea Herald