Researchers from South Korean battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have achieved a notable advancement in lithium metal batteries by employing a borate-pyran-based liquid electrolyte. Published in the journal Nature Energy, the research indicates that the lithium-metal battery, utilizing the innovative liquid electrolyte, could potentially provide an electric car range of 900 kilometers and over 400 charge/discharge cycles.
In lithium-metal batteries, lithium metal replaces the graphite-based anode material, leading to reduced anode weight and volume, consequently enhancing charging and discharging efficiency. These batteries offer higher energy density and improved safety compared to lithium-ion batteries. However, challenges such as dendrite formation and issues related to liquid electrolyte corrosion have impeded their commercialization.
The research, conducted over two years at the Frontier Research Laboratory (FRL) in Korea, aimed to address these challenges. According to LG Energy Solution, the team successfully developed a technology that significantly enhances the energy density of lithium-metal batteries. Notably, this achievement is distinct from solid-state batteries, as it eliminates the need for high temperatures and high pressure during battery cell activation.
Jung Geun-chang, Vice President and Head of LG Energy's Future Technology Center, emphasized the significance of this breakthrough, stating, “This technology is significant in that it has overcome a major hurdle to the commercialization of lithium-metal batteries using liquid electrolytes.” Professor Kim Hee-tak from KAIST highlighted the research's feasibility, dispelling previous perceptions that liquid electrolyte-based lithium-metal batteries were considered impossible.
While these developments represent a noteworthy step forward in lithium-metal battery technology, further testing and refinement will be crucial before practical applications in electric vehicles become a reality.