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"World's highest-capacity" solid-state battery developed in Japan (nikkei.com)
131 points by bornelsewhere 41 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 86 comments


Dear battery technology claimant,

Thank you for your submission of proposed new revolutionary battery technology. Your new technology claims to be superior to existing lithium-ion technology is is just around the corner from taking over the world. Unfortunately your technology will likely fail, because:

[ ] it is impractical to manufacture at scale.

[x] it will be too expensive for users.

[ ] it suffers from too few recharge cycles.

[ ] it is incapable of delivering current at sufficient levels.

[ ] it lacks thermal stability at low or high temperatures.

[x] it lacks the energy density to make it sufficiently portable.

[ ] it has too short of a lifetime.

[ ] its charge rate is too slow.

[ ] its materials are too toxic.

[ ] it is too likely to catch fire or explode.

[ ] it is too minimal of a step forward for anybody to care.

[ ] this was already done 20 years ago and didn't work then.

[x] by this time it ships li-ion advances will match it.

[ ] your claims are lies.


Yet another example of a glib response ignoring the actual facts in the article and ironic to boot given that lithium-ion suffers from several of the flaws listed. The funny thing is, none of the claims you make are correct and you miss the point where this tech is specifically designed to cover areas where Li-ion fails (like high temp and places where having a battery explode into flaming debris is a bad thing.)

Humour is rarely appreciated here, but I found this funny and on point.

Battery technology announcements are always extremely over hyped. Mostly by media and PR departments rather than actual scientific or domain specific outlets.

Advancements happen, but even if they are technically and commercially viable, it takes years until anything becomes actually useful.

Battery technology announcements are always extremely over hyped.

Right, except this announcement specifically isn't. It's a short description of a new technology with targeted use-cases, which explicitly points out the ways in which it's not ready to displace existing technologies.

You are correct that there is often unjustified hype around battery technology in general. But this article is absolutely not that.

This is true, the article is essentially 'cool new battery - for satellites'.

The title is also misleading. It should be "World's highest specific capacity solid state battery developed developed in Japan".

I agree with you. Year after year we read about "revolutionary" battery technologies that are finally going to change the world. A laundry list of reasons why previous technologies that made the same claim ended up fizzling out is completely appropriate. Presenting the list formatted as humor instead of as a humble submission suits me just fine, because 1) I enjoy the humor, which ribs me a bit for how many times I've been fooled by announcements like these over the decades, and 2) I'm still aware that this time could be different. Probably won't be, but could be. The technology will either work out or not based on its merits, my "middlebrow" humor and skepticism notwithstanding.

While the comment is funny, it is misplaced on an article that is refreshingly hype-free.

The title is full of hype.

The title is factually accurate, as no other solid-state battery has as high a capacity.

Perhaps it could be better phrased to be clearer that it's "the highest of solid state batteries" and not "the highest of batteries, and also solid state".

But that's the problem with these announcements. They make one or two factual statements that seem positive but hide the downsides. A year or two from now and the downsides aren't overcome and at best they gain a small market niche.

Funnily enough, I remember reading an article many years ago (I was about 10, so it would have been mid to late 80s) about LiPo being the next big thing, and the author making all sorts of claims about how battery technology announcements being over-hyped.

You're correct, but eventually one of these announcements will live up to the promise. LiPo was basically stumbling due to a few manufacturing at scale issues at the time, and once those got solved (Sony released a standard LiPo cell in 1991) it wasn't long before it became the new standard.

I'm still sceptical of new battery tech announcements, but I still get excited by them!

I found it tedious. Pretty much every post about advancements in battery technology on HN have a similarly cynical post at the top. I wondered what this one would be before I clicked on the comments link.

Well maybe because the cynicism is justified. Every week there's a new battery announcement and only rarely is it not hype.

Yet look at the progress made in battery technologies over the last few decades.

I have two different views on new battery technology press releases.

1) "Hey, that's great, I hope it works out for them!"

2) "Can I actually pull out my visa card right now, and buy some individual units online?"

Re: #2, most batteries have very little relevance to me as an end user until they're commercially available to buy. For instance the Panasonic NCR18650GA (245-250Wh/kg) li-ion, the Molicell P42A (21700 size li ion that's capable of being discharged at 45A rate with appropriate cooling), and other state of the art technology. I can go buy those right now from some reputable online stores.

Until whatever other new battery shows up to actually purchase, it exists in a liminal, theoretical state only.

Humor is totally appreciated here; I got more than 80 upvotes for a silly comment yesterday.

> Humour is rarely appreciated here, but I found this funny and on point.

Yes, we just play our hyperbole with a straight bat.

> [insert AI/ML/other tech] announcements are always extremely over hyped. Mostly by media and PR departments rather than actual scientific or domain specific outlets.

Rule of thumb, if it sounds to good to be true. It probably is but the PR department needs to do something.

I’m just curious, is there any time when having a battery explode into flaming debris a good thing? :)

A little extra kick during staging for Rocketlab :)

Not if they wanna reuse though. ;)

TwoBit's response is perfect because I've been hearing of battery breakthroughs on a regular basis for over 30 years. I don't even read them anymore. I'll catch up when they do actually do something notable.

The actual facts are that they're not mass produced and commercially available, just like all the other battery advancements that pop up a few times a year.

also, dear technology journalist:

[x] your description uses milliamp hours and milliamps per hour interchangeably

[x] milliamp hours is a useless metric when we don't know how big/heavy said battery is

[x] milliamp hours is a useless metric when we don't know the battery's voltage

At least it doesn't use milliamp hours per hour as a unit. I'm pretty sure one of the cars actually does that with KW (Kwh/hr).

I can sort of see how that's justified when advertising to people who don't really understand electrical units. The battery capacity is listed in kilowatt hours. If you don't really understand what a kilowatt is but you know the battery has a capacity of 60 kilowatt hours, and the charger charges at 10 kilowatt hours per hour, then it'll charge in about 6 hours.

Still, it does make me cringe a little.

That seems like a reasonable unit to use when measuring charge rate though…

A kilowatt-hour is the total amount of energy transferred over the course of an hour at a rate of one kilowatt, so "kilowatt-hours per hour" is just "kilowatts".

This made me chuckle. Is there a table anywhere with a lot of promising contenders as columns and those criteria as rows (or that transposed)?

Sure it's a funny checklist but not very useful since it can be used to dismiss anything. Coal can generate a lot of electricity even in the dark or in the gentlest of breezes yet we still develop tech for solar or wind power.

as it should be. Energy is about hard sciences, not technology, and so progress is very unlikely and thus slow, much slower than the claims about breakthroughs.

[x] it lacks the energy density to make it sufficiently portable.

that only matters if you want a portable battery. there are alot of uses where it doesnt need to be portable at all. thats only for electric cars. same with crash resistance etc, and even affordability for average users.

it literally says "satellites and industrial machinery." in the article, neither of which needs to be very cheap or portable. especially because other batteries arent good under extreme temps

From the title

> ... applications in industrial machinery and space

In the first line

> ... making it a candidate for use in satellites and industrial machinery.

So 2/3 of your points don't really make sense

Nice. It's a common enough joke that could have been a dog but enough effort was put in to make it a real winner.


Is that hosted somewhere, or did you make it up just for this comment?

It seems inspired by this classic:


Looks to have come from here (Dec 08 2020, apparently): https://pedriana.wordpress.com/2020/12/08/new-battery-techno...

As history has shown w.r.t spam, the stuff eventually gets sorted out

I'm sure people could have come with similar criticism for li-ion batteries, before them took over

Not only that, if this battery had been available first then the attack on someone pushing Li-ion would have been:

[x] it lacks thermal stability at low or high temperatures.

[x] it is too likely to catch fire or explode.

Too many people think Li-ion is magic, when it just happens to occupy a particular niche of characteristics that let it get a good early jump in the race for portable power. Nothing about the chemistry involved mandates it remain in a position of primacy.

Yes but Li-ion was first, so that's what you now have to beat (including the ways in which world has adapted/overcome its shortfalls).

Are you kidding me? The 'first' was the Voltaic pile, copper and zinc. The first practical rechargeable was lead-acid. Li-ion is a relative newcomer, but had a sufficient power density to lead to a lot of applications which in turn led to a lot of research on improving Li-ion in a virtuous circle. We are pushing the limits of Li-ion and know that is sucks for some environments or application requirements, which is why people research alternatives.

This particular alternative is useful in some very specific niches in which Li-ion will _never_ be competitive.

I believe sambe was using “first” in the same way you did, i.e. first of the two

Could it tho? First commercial liion batteries were developed by Sony in 1991 according to Wiki. By 1996 Toshiba was already shipping Libretto palmtops with 1200mAh 17670 cells. Today, in 2021 you cant go better than 3x this capacity in same/similar form factor.

this is amazing, thank you.

Li-ion batteries have been the same for like 40 years, they've just gotten smaller.

From the company website: "Hitachi Zosen is promoting development into an all-solid-state lithium ion battery that is anticipated as a post-lithium ion battery applicable to next-generation cars. We have developed an original manufacturing method that has successfully created an all-solid-state battery without the mechanical pressure conventionally used during charging and discharging. Our battery maintains a high level of safety and has a wide operating temperature range of -40℃ to 100℃. It can work under environments where current lithium ion batteries cannot, and its application to new fields and markets is expected."


We have developed an original manufacturing method that has successfully created an all-solid-state battery without the mechanical pressure conventionally used during charging and discharging.

This is my litmus test for new battery technology. If they have a manufacturing process and it's already implemented then their proposition can(but doesn't necessarily have to ) be treated seriously.

Let's see how much capacity can be squeezed out of this. I don't suppose it's too impressive though - solid state batteries only recently started visibly improving in all the interesting parameters.

BTW: Whatever happened to those fuel cell proposals promising to replace laptop batteries altogether? I remember pictures of laptops running on working prototypes claiming to achieve 10 hours run time on a single "charge" 10 years ago.


Actually that's 17 years ago:


Linus Tech Tips looked at a fuel cell USB supply a few years ago. It sucked horribly, and barely produced any power:


Besides that, we can have 10 hours from a battery quite easily right now. If you need more, there are external batteries powerful enough to power a laptop over USB-PD. And after that you just charge it from any power outlet. It's a known technology, very mature, and doesn't run into any trouble at airports.

Hydrogen also either requires constantly buying new cartridges, or acquiring special hardware to fill them.

It's just late to the market. At this point the batteries are actually very good and a lot more convenient. There's probably some use case in which one can't have enough batteries, set up a solar panel, or use a generator, but it's got to be a niche.

That reminds me of mikeselectricstuff's teardown of a Hydrogen fuel cell power bank: https://youtu.be/y48wCuC3KcA

An extremely well engineered piece of technology that may have been selling at a loss at $150. Only 26wh at up to 500ma, can't recharge it at home, have to drive to specific stores to pay £6 to swap the cartridge. Just completely impractical.

The one LTT was looking at did have a charger, which seems to have cost somewhere around $420.


But now you're paying a good chunk of cash... for what exactly? The system is bigger than a battery, a lot more expensive, a lot harder to charge, much less powerful, and a lot more complex and delicate.

The marketing people moved to fisker and EV's: https://www.pcmag.com/news/fisker-battery-promises-500-mile-...

Apparently, after coverage in EVERY blog, news article, etc, they dropped it last year.

Does anybody know the voltage, size, and weight? Without those numbers, “1,000 mAh” is meaningless. A single AAA battery is rated the same, and if you managed to find an even smaller battery, you could “invent” a 1,000 mAh battery out of it by duct taping a few together.

Looks like it's 3.65 volts, there's a picture of the battery with the voltage stamped on it. But no indication of size and weight.

> Those used in smartphones offer a capacity of thousands of milliampere per hour.

Capacity is measured as a product of current and time, not current per time.

Or, even better, the product of Watts and time (Watt-hours). mA-hours doesn't mean much if you don't know the battery's voltage.

Or just use the actual SI unit Joule

It's not practical. Just like how you won't measure the distance between two cities in metres.

How is measuring distance between cities in metres impractical? That's exactly how sane part of the world measures it. Though kilo-, giga- and other prefixes for units may be used when needed (when rounding is acceptable for the purpose of reducing the number to reduce the overall length of words needed to describe the measure).

I'm a part of the sane part of the world :) But it's more practical because if you know the Wh of a battery and you know the wattage of a power brick (simply V*I), you can quickly calculate the number of hours it will take to charge the battery from 0 to 100. Knowing the number of seconds isn't very useful to humans because battery charging is usually in the order of hours. Of course, machines should always use Joules internally.

The SI system allows to use prefixes that take care of different orders of magnitude.

1 Wh = 3.6 kJ

Still it's easier to go with Wh than joules. We have a lot of intuition about watts and hours but not a lot abou joules.

1 Joule = 1 Watt-Second

The problem is that our system of timekeeping does not conform to SI's prefix system. Not many people have an intuitive grasp of what a kilosecond is.

I guess the inclusion of "per" there was a typo?

They used the correct units earlier in the article.

Which probably means that the journalist doesn't which one is correct. Why even bother writing an article of such quality?

If the mistake only happened once, its just as likely to be an "improvement" from the editor who actually doesn't know why one is correct.

What is interesting in this announcement is that Hitachi's solid state battery is so far behind Toyota's solid state batteries to be mass produced in 2021 :)

For those who do not know, Toyota and it's battery partners have been announcing solid state batteries 'soon' since ~2010 [1].

[1] https://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/10/toyota-20111019.htm...

Without talking in terms of energy (Watt.hours) it's impossible to compare with existing batteries. mAh is only useful when comparing the same battery cell chemistry, as the voltage is the same. This battery could be lower or higher voltage - making 1000mAh more or less energy than an equivalent existing 1000mAh battery.

A photo in the press release shows a battery with 3.65v stamped on it, if that helps

The voltage changes over the discharge cycle so watts are still the preferred unit.

This probably isn't the company to produce it, but it does look to me like solid-state lithium batteries are the next step forward in battery technology. Probably hitting mass-market production in at earliest in 2022 as far as I can see.

Longer term, my read is that fluorine-ion batteries are the most promising potential generational leap. But that these are only likely to be viable in solid-state form, as fluorine is more dangerous than lithium.

Imho it would be nice if this type of article didn't always assume that everyone knows that The One True Voltage™ for battery cells is (just about) 3.7V (in this case 3.65V according to the picture).

What's the capacity per gram, what about by volume? It's too light on details.

Why in the article do they state the capacity as 1,000mA instead of just 1A?

Not milliamps, milliamps-hour (mAh). It is the usual unit used in the context of battery capacity in the general public, nothing tricky here.

I guess it eases the mind when comparing if competitors are below 1000mAh and use that unit prefix.

It is easier/faster for the brain to compare 700mAh and 1000mAh than 700mAh and 1Ah

I'm curious why you made a new HN account just to write that comment.

Some people seem to create a new account for each story they comment on so they or their comments can't be 'tracked' between stories.

Or not to get their karma trashed because of naive questions.

What does karma buy?

Ability to downvote others

So, the ability to do work for free for YC?

A better reincarnation next time around...

I create a new account for each different topic I comment in so that only dang can track me. ;) For real though, I would have -1,000 karma if I only used one account because apparently to other HNers think that my comments and questions are pathetic. Very elitist community, I feel safer making new accounts.

Send it to Texas

In other news: Elon Musk buys Japan.

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