Rechargeable Lithium/Sulfur battery promises greater energy capacity



Professor Do Kyung Kim

Professor Do Kyung Kim from the Department of Material Science and Engineering and Professor Jang Wook Choi from the Graduate School of EEWS at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have been featured in the lead story of the renowned nanoscience journal Advanced Materials for their research on the lithium sulfur battery. This new type of battery developed by Professor Kim is expected to have a longer life battery life and [higher] energy density than currently commercial batteries.

With ample energy density up to 2100Wh/kg—almost 5.4 times that of lithium ion batteries—lithium sulfur batteries can withstand the sharp decrease in energy capacity resulting from charging and discharging—which has been considered the inherent limitation of the conventional batteries.

Professor Kim and his research team used one-dimensional, vertical alignment of 75nm tick, 15μm long sulfur nanowires to maximize electric conductivity. Then, to prevent loss of battery life, they carbon-coated each nanowire and prohibited direct contact between the sulfur and electrolyte.

The result was one of the most powerful batteries in terms of both energy performance and density. Compared to conventional batteries which suffer from continuous decrease in energy capacity after being discharged, the lithium sulfur battery maintained 99.2% of its initial capacity after being charged and discharged 300 times and up to 70% even after 1000 times.

Professor Kim claims that his new battery is an important step forward towards a high-performance rechargeable battery which is a vital technology for unmanned vehicles, electric automobiles and energy storage. He hopes that his research can solve the problems of battery-capacity loss and contribute to South Korea’s leading position in battery technology. Professor Kim’s research team has filed applications for one domestic and international patent for their research.

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology