Researchers in South Korea say they have developed “essential technologies” to boost the safety and performance of lithium metal batteries.
The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (Kist) team claim their research “can be potentially applied to various industrial applications, especially for un-manned vehicles” such as self-driving cars.
Kist said the lithium metal battery it has developed “exhibits twice the energy density to that of a conventional lithium-ion battery”.
“The lithium metal ion battery utilises metallic lithium as anode which has about 10-fold higher capacity than that of conventional graphite anode, providing approximately triple amount of the energy density, both volumetrically and gravimetrically, of lithium-ion batteries,” Kist said in research published in Nature Energy.
“Metallic lithium anode-based battery systems are garnering much interest as the next generation system of lithium-ion batteries. However, physicochemical instabilities of metallic lithium anode under the electrochemical processes induce the formation of lithium dendrites and side reactions that potentially cause an internal electrode shorting and low Coulombic efficiency— which increases the risk of battery thermal runaway and short cycle life.”
However, Kist said it had overcome these issues by developing “an approach to fabricate a functionalised graphene-based artificial solid-electrolyte interphase layer— ‘Langmuir-Blodgett artificial solid-electrolyte interphase— onto the lithium metal anode along with a suitable electrolyte formulation to stabilise lithium migration reversibly occurring at the electrodes in lithium metal ion batteries”.
Techniques developed by the team allow the battery to be able to maintain 80% of the initial performance after cycling for more than 1,200 times, Kist said.