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EV batteries

LG Energy develops safer, long-lasting solid-state battery technology

Battery manufacturers and automakers are in a heated race to launch EVs equipped with solid-state batteries

By Sep 24, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

LG Energy's EV battery system
LG Energy's EV battery system

South Korea’s LG Energy Solution Ltd. said on Friday the company and the University of California San Diego have jointly developed a next-generation solid-state battery that is safer and more durable than existing ones.

The new battery technology, published in Science, one of the top peer-reviewed academic journals, delivers 500 charge and discharge cycles with 80% capacity retention at room temperature – “exciting progress” for the solid-state battery community, it said.

Previously, solid-state batteries with high energy densities have often come with metallic lithium as an anode. But such batteries had limits on battery charge rates and safety issues as they could only be charged at 60 degrees Celsius or higher.

LG said the new battery developed by its researchers and a research team at the university uses a solid-state electrolyte and an all-silicon anode, allowing much faster charge rates at room to low temperatures, while maintaining high energy densities.

Silicon anodes are famous for their energy density, which is 10 times higher than graphite anodes most often used in commercial lithium-ion batteries. But silicon anodes negatively affect charging and discharging rates and degrade liquid electrolytes, shortening the battery lifespan.

To solve the problem, the researchers eliminated all carbon and binders from the anode. The team also removed the liquid electrolyte and used instead a sulfide-based solid electrolyte and micro-silicon, according to LG.

SOLID-STATE BATTERY RACE

“With the latest finding, we are much closer to realizing all-solid-state battery techniques, which would greatly diversify our battery product lineup,” said Kim Myung-hwan, president and chief procurement officer at LG Energy Solution.

Battery manufacturers and automakers around the globe strive to develop a next-generation electric vehicle battery, called an all-solid-state battery (ASSB), which enables longer mileage and a shorter charging time than current EV batteries due to its higher energy density.

Samsung SDI's EV battery system
Samsung SDI's EV battery system

Samsung SDI Co. is developing an ASSB through its research arm, Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, with an aim to commercialize it by 2027.

SK Innovation Co., another leading Korean battery maker, said it is working with a University of Texas professor and chemistry Nobel prize laureate to develop and commercialize an all-solid-state battery by 2030.

Hyundai Motor Co., Korea’s top automaker, is also working to develop an ASSB for mass production by 2030.

A company official said the company plans to produce an electric car equipped with an ASSB in 2025 on a pilot basis.

In the auto industry, Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. is leading the pack in the development of an all-solid-state battery.

With more than 1,000 battery-related patents, Toyota earlier this month unveiled a prototype EV equipped with solid-state battery technology.

The Japanese company said it is investing $13.6 billion in battery technology, including solid-state batteries, until 2030.

Write to Hyung-Kyu Kim and Il-Gue Kim at khk@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.
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