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Core Technology for Lithium Air Secondary Battery Developed​
View : 10097 Date : 2013-10-18 Writer : ed_news

KAIST-Kyonggi University joint research team developed composite catalyst out of nano fiber and graphene

Five times improvement in capacity compared to lithium-ion secondary battery, driving 800 km at maximum

The core technology for lithium air secondary battery, the next generation high capacity battery, has been developed.


A research team formed by KAIST Department of Materials Science’s Professors Il-Doo Kim and Seokwoo Jeon, and Kyonggi University Department of Materials Science’s Professor Yong-Joon Park has created a lithium air secondary battery, with five times greater storage than the lithium-ion secondary battery, by developing a nano fiber-graphene composite catalyst. The research results are published in the August 8th online edition of Nano Letters.

A cathode of a lithium-ion battery consists of graphite and an anode of the battery consists of a lithium transition metal oxide. Lithium-ion batteries are widely used in mobile phones and laptops. However, lithium-ion batteries cannot support electric vehicles, providing energy for only 160 kilometers on one full charge. The lithium air secondary battery just developed by the research team uses lithium on the cathode and oxygen on the anode. It is earning a popular acknowledgement among the next generation secondary battery research community for having lightweight mass and high energy density.

However, lithium-ion batteries remain difficult to commercialize because of their short lifespan. Lithium and oxygen meet up to form lithium oxide (Li2O2) at discharge, and decompose again at charge. In a traditional lithium air battery, this cycle does not occur smoothly and results in high resistance, thereby reducing the lifespan of the battery. It is thus essential to develop high efficiency catalyst that facilitates the formation and decomposition of lithium oxides.

The research team used electric radiation to develop a nano composite catalyst by mixing cobalt oxide nano fiber and graphene. The performance of the battery has been maximized by settling nonoxidative graphene, which has high specific surface area and electrical conductivity, on catalyst active cobalt oxide nano fiber. Applying the nano composite catalyst on both poles of the lithium air battery resulted in an improved lifespan of over 80 recharge cycles with capacity greater than 100mAh/g, five times greater than a lithium ion battery. The newly discovered charge-discharge property is the highest among the reported performances of the lithium air battery so far. 

The lithium air battery is cheap to make, as the main materials are metal oxide and graphene. “There are yet more issues to resolve such as stability, but we will collaborate with other organizations to open up the era of electronic vehicles,” said Professor Il-Doo Kim. “We hope to contribute to vitalizing the fields of next generation lithium air battery by leading nanocatalyst synthesis technology, one of the core materials in the fields of secondary battery,” Professor Kim spoke of his aspiration.

The graduate students participated in the research are Won-Hee Ryu, a postdoctorate at KAIST Department of Materials Science, Sungho Song, a PhD candidate at KAIST Department of Materials Science, and Taek-Han Yoon, a graduate student at Kyonggi University.


Picture I: Schematic Diagram of Lithium Air Battery Made of Nano Composite Catalysts

Picture II: Images of Cobalt Oxide Nano Fibers and Graphene Nano Composite Catalysts
Picture III: Images of Manufacturing Process of Cobalt Oxide Nano Fibers and Graphene Nano Composite Catalysts for Lithium Air Battery

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