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Hyundai, KAIST develop world’s 1st technology to extend lifespan of LFP battery

May 16, 2024 - 14:25 By Kan Hyeong-woo

Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have developed the world’s first technology to extend the lifespan of electric vehicle batteries by 10 to 20 percent, KAIST said Thursday.

The study, which was supported by Hyundai Motor Group, came up with a triazole-motivated electrolyte additive that can significantly increase the duration of lithium-ion batteries.

According to the researchers, the new electrolyte additive succeeded in protecting lithium iron phosphate, or LFP, cathodes and graphite anodes while balancing electronic conductivity and ion conductivity on the surface of the cathodes. In other words, this new technology can solve the problem of EV batteries losing capacity due to repeated charging and discharging.

Pointing out that the developed electrolyte additive formed an electrode interface layer with excellent thermal resistance and conductivity, Moon Hyeon-gyu, the first author of the study, said the battery composed of LFP cathodes and graphite anodes showed 80.8 percent and 73.3 percent capacities after undergoing 500 rounds of charging at 45 degrees Celsius and 1,000 rounds of charging at 25 degrees Celsius, respectively.

“Compared to the electrolyte without the additive, each figure saw improvements of 20.4 percentage points and 8.6 percentage points,” said Moon.

“As EV batteries currently guarantee about 10 years of lifespan, we can expect that the lifespan could be extended by 10 to 20 percent to 11 to 12 years if applied with the developed additive.”

According to the study, the developed technology can also be applied to fast charging conditions, as it improved the LFP cathodes’ characteristic of low electronic conduction.

KAIST noted that the technology was developed using graphite anodes and LFP cathodes with a high cladding density required by companies, which is another level from ordinary lab settings.

Choi Nam-soon, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at KAIST and corresponding author of the study, expressed anticipation that the electrolyte additive technology can be utilized in the EV battery sector, as the research was conducted under the electrode loading conditions on par with commercial production.

The study was published in the online edition of the Advanced Functional Materials on May 9 under the title "Balancing Ionic and Electronic Conduction at the LiFePO4 Cathode–Electrolyte Interface and Regulating Solid Electrolyte Interphase in Lithium-Ion Batteries."

An image of the study that shows how newly developed electrolyte additives can increase an electric vehicle battery's lifespan (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology)