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April 22, 2024

LG Energy Solution makes breakthrough in battery lifespan

PUBLISHED : March 19, 2024 - 17:33

UPDATED : March 19, 2024 - 17:33

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LG Energy Solution employees at the Ochang factory present the Long Cell, the company's lithium iron phosphate battery that offers enhanced energy density and safety. (LG Energy Solution)

LG Energy Solution, in collaboration with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology, has made a significant breakthrough in lithium metal battery technology that addresses key challenges regarding its lifespan and safety.

This new technology was detailed in the science journal Nature Energy and represents a considerable leap forward in lithium metal battery research and development.

Lithium metal batteries are noted for their theoretical capacity advantages over lithium-ion batteries, which could potentially translate to up to a 50 percent increase in electric vehicle driving range.

Despite this potential, their commercial deployment has yet to be realized due to issues of lifespan and safety, primarily because of dendrite formation. Dendrites are sharp, needle-like structures that can grow on the battery's metal surface during charging cycles, leading to premature battery failure and reduced charging capacity.

The technology developed by the collaborative research team utilizes a novel chemical formulation: a borate-pyran-based liquid electrolyte designed to mitigate the corrosion issues typically caused by those dendrites. By introducing a borate-pyran compound as a liquid electrolyte, this solution enables the formation of a stable and uniform solid electrolyte interphase on the lithium metal anode. This SEI layer acts as a protective barrier, curtailing the dendritic growth.

This research paves the way for the practical use of lithium-metal batteries with liquid electrolytes, previously deemed unviable, promising electric vehicle range with a single charge capable of reaching 900 kilometers and a battery life exceeding 400 cycles.

Furthermore, in contrast to all-solid-state batteries that require high temperatures and pressures, these lithium metal batteries operate under standard conditions, significantly simplifying the overall design and manufacturing process of the battery system.

Beyond lithium metal batteries, LG Energy Solution is investing in other next-generation battery technologies. For instance, in August 2020, a lithium-sulfur battery designed for aviation and developed with the Korea Aerospace Research Institute successfully powered an unmanned aerial vehicle to the stratosphere, demonstrating its practicality and overcoming the endurance limitations and challenges associated with sulfur electrodes and cell assembly scale-up.

In September 2021, a collaborative effort with the University of San Diego resulted in the development of an all-solid-state battery featuring a silicon cathode. This innovation, which was detailed in the journal Science, demonstrates enhanced energy density and improved charging capabilities LG Innotek is also pushing the envelope in battery technology, focusing on the scalability and performance of cathode and anode materials.

To accelerate the transition from lab to market for such battery innovations, LG Energy Solutions established the Future Technology Center last year, led by Executive Vice President Chung Geun-chang, who is a veteran in mass production and next-generation battery development.

By Moon Joon-hyun (mjh@heraldcorp.com)
The Korea Herald

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