The development of light-weight batteries has a great potential value for mobile applications, including electric vehicles and electric aircraft. Along with increasing energy density, another strategy for reducing battery weight is to endow energy storage devices with multifunctionality – e.g., creating an energy storage device that is able to bear structural loads and act as a replacement for structural components such that the weight of the overall system is reduced. This type of batteries is commonly referred to as “structural batteries”. Two general methods have been explored to develop structural batteries: (1) integrating batteries with light and strong external reinforcements, and (2) introducing multifunctional materials as battery components to make energy storage devices themselves structurally robust. In this review, we discuss the fundamental rules of design and basic requirements of structural batteries, summarize the progress made to date in this field, examine potential avenues and sources of inspiration for future research, and touch upon challenges remaining in this field such as safety, costs, and performance stability. Though more fundamental and technical research is needed to promote wide practical application, structural batteries show the potential to significantly improve the performance of electric vehicles and devices.

Structural batteries: Advances, challenges and perspectives

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2022.12.001