POSTECH Scientists Unveil Innovative Battery Technology for the Next-Gen EVs

Explore POSTECH's pioneering Li-ion battery with micro silicon and gel polymers, poised to extend EV range and revolutionize energy storage.

Harold Thompson


Harold Thompson


Mar 6, 2024

POSTECH Scientists Unveil Innovative Battery Technology for the Next-Gen EVs

POSTECH Scientists Unveil Innovative Battery Technology for the Next-Gen EVs

In a significant advancement likely to extend electric vehicles' (EVs) range to new strides, a research team from Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) has reported the development of a novel form of lithium-ion battery. As reported by SciTech Daily, this battery employs micro silicon particles and gel polymer electrolytes to boast a remarkable energy density and stability, as detailed in a recent analysis by the team behind the discovery. Such an innovation could be a turning point for the EV industry as it confronts silicon's notable expansion issues and strides towards the coveted 1,000 km range on a single charge.

The quest for longer-lasting EV batteries is a priority in the sustainable transportation sector, with current models averaging 700 km per charge. The POSTECH team’s breakthrough could mean a leap forward, overcoming the historical challenge of silicon's substantial volume change during charge cycles, which has so far hindered its widespread application in battery anodes.

Decoding the Silicon Dilemma

Until now, the high-energy storage capacity of silicon had come with a catch: during charging, silicon could expand to over three times its original volume, leading to efficiency losses and diminishing the appeal of silicon-based batteries. Nano-sized silicon particles were a partial solution, yet their complex, cost-prohibitive production process made them an unrealistic choice. The POSTECH researchers bypassed these hurdles by utilizing more cost-effective micro-sized silicon (10-6m), paired with gel polymer electrolytes—a creative solution to an enduring battery challenge.

Gel Polymer Electrolytes: Stability Meets Efficiency

The team’s pioneering approach involved the use of gel polymer electrolytes, forming covalent bonds with micro silicon particles through an electron beam process. This innovative method offered a more stable battery structure by dispersing the stress caused by silicon’s volume expansion during usage. Consequently, the newly developed Li-ion battery demonstrated remarkable endurance when compared to the conventional counterparts utilizing liquid electrolytes, all while posting a substantial 40% boost in energy density. Moreover, this system is designed with a streamlined production process in mind, bringing it one step closer to commercial viability.

As outlined in 'Advanced Science,' this research is pivotal not just for its technical outcomes, but also because it offers a glimpse into the imminent future where long-range EV travel on a single charge becomes a practical reality. This leap in battery performance is a testament to the promise held by well-directed research and technological ingenuity, heralding a new age of energy solutions.

Reflecting on this progression, Professor Soojin Park of POSTECH underscored the gravity of their findings, indicating the study paves the way for high-energy-density lithium-ion battery systems that circumvent the historical limitations of silicon. The prosperity of this battery technology could signify a transformative leap for EV efficiency and sustainability—core tenets in the escalating shift towards green transportation.

Moreover, the research carries implications that extend beyond the automotive world; it's part of a converging pathway where energy storage, efficiency, and innovation intersect to power the technology of tomorrow. Examples are already visible in a variety of fields including AI and healthcare, where improved battery technology is foundational.

Backed by the National Research Foundation of Korea’s Independent Researcher Program, the study not just underlines the bright prospects of silicon-anode batteries but also POSITION Korea at the vanguard of next-generation battery research—potentially influencing the scope of energy storage solutions on a global stage. While the material science community continues to envision a future powered by robust, efficient, and sustainable energy storage, POSTECH’s breakthrough is a promising harbinger of progress on the horizon.

Source: SciTech Daily

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