Battery Production in Ambient Air is Enabled
Battery Production in Ambient Air is Enabled
  • Reporter Kim Seo-jin
  • 승인 2021.02.28 00:33
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▲Battery production in ambient air using multifunctional separators
▲Battery production in ambient air using multifunctional separators



From small gadgets to electric vehicles, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have become an essential source of energy. Recently, Tesla, the leading electric automaker in the U.S., stressed the necessity of establishing an innovative production system and reducing battery costs. Battery costs account for a huge portion of electric vehicles’ prices, and thus a reduction of the expenses is crucial in order to universalize them.
Professor Soojin Park (CHEM) and Son Hye-bin (CHEM Ph.D. Candidate) teamed up with Professor Seungmin Yoo of Ulsan College to develop a multifunctional separator that enables batteries to operate even when pouch batteries are made in ambient air. The research was published in the online version of the international journal, Energy Storage Materials 2021, Vol. 36, 355-364.
Since electrolytes inside batteries can deteriorate easily through reaction with water, batteries have been conventionally manufactured in a dry room below 1% humidity. Unfortunately, maintaining a dry room is quite expensive. Therefore, studies have been conducted to inhibit impurities such as moisture or hydrofluoric acid by injecting additives into the electrolyte. Yet, this way, unwanted adverse reactions may occur during the charging cycle. Veritably, when a battery operates at a high temperature above 50°C, even a small amount of moisture causes rapid battery performance deterioration. Therefore, demand for material that can trap the moisture inside the battery, without electrochemical adverse reactions, has been soaring.
As a solution, the research team added a functional material with the ability to trap impurities on the surface of the separator. By doing so, the thermal stability and overall performance of the battery were enhanced. The manufactured multifunctional separator showed excellent heat resistance and enhancement in electrochemical performance at a high temperature of 55°C.
The team also identified the effectiveness of the functional material in electrolytes with high levels of impurities. 
Furthermore, the research revealed that multifunctional separators manufactured in ambient air had a longer life span compared to traditional separators, verifying stable performance. Prof. Park acclaimed, “The multifunctional separator shows excellent electrochemical performance in terms of stability and energy density.”
The research was funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea.