LGES, KAIST develop next-generation Li-metal batteries
A joint research team of LGES and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) announced on Thursday that it developed a source technology for lithium metal batteries that increases the driving range by about 50 percent compared to lithium-ion batteries as well as improving charging and discharging efficiency. The research results were published in the scientific journal Nature Energy. Lithium metal batteries replace graphite-based anode materials with lithium metal, significantly reducing the weight and volume of anode materials compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries as well as improving energy density and driving range.
An issue with existing lithium metal batteries is continuous corrosion caused by dendrites and liquid electrolytes on anodes that impact battery life and safety. Lithium dendrites are formed when extra lithium ions accumulate on the anode surface, which are leaf-like structures that branch as they move towards their tips like tree branches. They hinder the movement of lithium ions, reducing battery efficiency and lifespan and increasing the risk of fire.
To tackle this problem, the team applied a borate-pyran-lean electrolyte, which reconstitutes the solid-electrolyte layer that forms on the surface of lithium metal anodes during charging and discharging to prevent corrosion between the electrolyte and the lithium metal anode.
The new technology, as a result, has enhanced the charging and discharging efficiency of lithium metal batteries while increasing their energy density to achieve a range of 900 kilometers per charge, up from 600 kilometers of lithium-ion batteries used in existing high-performance electric vehicles. It also ensures battery life stability as it can be recharged more than 400 times.
“We took a big step forward by addressing the major challenges of li-metal batteries using liquid electrolytes and are one step closer to commercialization,” according to Jung Geun-chang, vice president at LGES. “We will lead the commercialization of next-generation batteries based off of our differentiated technology.”
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