Besides a continuous increase of the worldwide use of electricity, the electric energy storage technology market is a growing sector. At the latest since the German energy transition ("Energiewende") was announced, technological solutions for the storage of renewable energy have been intensively studied. Storage technologies in various forms are commercially available. A widespread technology is the electrochemical cell. Here the cost per kWh, e. g. determined by energy density, production process and cycle life, is of main interest. Commonly, an electrochemical cell consists of an anode and a cathode that are separated by an ion permeable or ion conductive membrane - the separator - as one of the main components. Many applications use polymeric separators whose pores are filled with liquid electrolyte, providing high power densities. However, problems arise from different failure mechanisms during cell operation, which can affect the integrity and functionality of these separators. In the case of excessive heating or mechanical damage, the polymeric separators become an incalculable security risk. Furthermore, the growth of metallic dendrites between the electrodes leads to unwanted short circuits. In order to minimize these risks, temperature stable and non-flammable ceramic particles can be added, forming so-called composite separators. Full ceramic separators, in turn, are currently commercially used only for high-temperature operation systems, due to their comparably low ion conductivity at room temperature. However, as security and lifetime demands increase, these materials turn into focus also for future room temperature applications. Hence, growing research effort is being spent on the improvement of the ion conductivity of these ceramic solid electrolyte materials, acting as separator and electrolyte at the same time. Starting with a short overview of available separator technologies and the separator market, this review focuses on ceramic-based separators. Two prominent examples, the lithium-ion and sodium-sulfur battery, are described to show the current stage of development. New routes are presented as promising technologies for safe and long-life electrochemical storage cells.
Separators - Technology review: Ceramic based separators for secondary batteries
Tina Nestler, Robert Schmid, Wolfram Münchgesang, Vasilii Bazhenov, Jochen Schilm, Tilmann Leisegang, Dirk C. Meyer; Separators - Technology review: Ceramic based separators for secondary batteries. AIP Conf. Proc. 16 June 2014; 1597 (1): 155–184. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4878486
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