Samsung reportedly working on solid state batteries that can be used in Galaxy S9
Batteries are risky things, and who can know that better than Samsung? The company had a massive fallout last year when batteries of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 exploded one after another, prompting two separate recalls and eventual pullout of the device from all markets.
While company has recovered quickly and amazingly from the disaster and shipped Galaxy S8 with more reliable batteries, the risk of explosion is always there in lithium ion batteries.
You can certainly put robust quality control measures in place, and produce batteries that don’t explode quickly like the ones found in Note 7 (something which Sammy has also done), but you can’t eliminate the explosion risk completely. At lest not until there’s a lithium ion cell in the battery.
The only way to get rid of the risk completely is to entirely change the battery technology. But which technology can replace the usability of Lithium ion batteries? Perhaps Samsung has found the answer.
That’s right – according to a recent report published in Korea Herald Samsung is reportedly working on solid state batteries for its upcoming flagship smartphones. The report quotes a Samsung SDI executive saying:
“Our technological level to produce a solid-state battery for smartphones will be mature enough in one to two years. However, it depends on Samsung Electronics whether it will be used for phones.”
The same executive also said that besides Samsung its traditional rival LG was also working on the technology. According to Choi Jung-deok, who’s an analyst at LG Economic Research Institute:
“Solid-state batteries are a realistic alternative to lithium-ion batteries in solving the chronic safety issue as the development has been relatively faster than other next-generation batteries over the last 10 years.”
Solid state batteries eliminate the risk of explosion because rather than using liquid electrolyte that’s used in lithium ion batteries they utilize solid electrolytes to transfer charges. While liquid electrolytic solutions are almost always at risk of leaking and exploding the battery whenever overwhelmed under a fast charging rate, there’s no such problem with solid electrolytes. Moreover, they also tend to be more eco-friendly as they use materials found in earth. Last, but certainly not the least, they also work perfectly in temperatures as low as -20 degrees. This means that they can also be used in sub-zero temperatures, something which is impossible for lithium ion batteries.
Therefore, it’s quite possible for upcoming Galaxy S and LG G series smartphones to come with solid state batteries. There’s also the possibility of this technology eventually being scaled up for use in electric cars – however, that’s not happening anytime soon. Such a kind of scaling will require at least 7-8 years, according to same Samsung SDI executive:
“The batteries will be applied for smartphones first and then for electric vehicles after its safety is fully tested. The application for automobiles may be seen around 2025.”
But yes, the same report also says that a team of 200 engineers at Toyota is probably already working on the technology to make it usable for vehicles. But even if Toyota figures out how to make them work for automobiles before this duration of 7-8 years, the technology is still unlikely to be mainstream before 5 years at least.
So for now we can expect only flagship smartphones to come with more robust, rapidly charging, eco-friendly, reliable and cheaper solid-state batteries. We wish this technology can be successfully implemented across various product categories, so exploding batteries can become a thing of past. Let’s hope for the best!