* Date : 2016-12-02
Batteries have become an indispensible part of our everyday lives, as they are used to power smart devices. Semi-permanent batteries that can be recharged multiple times are called secondary or rechargeable cells. The global market for lithium-ion batteries, the largest segment of the secondary battery market, is expected to register an average annual growth of 20 percent from 2015 to 2020. We examine evolving rechargeable battery technologies and their applications across industries. Following recent reports of smartphone battery explosions, more emphasis is being placed on the safety of lithium-ion batteries. Dr. Ku Jong-min's team at KIST has developed a soft, gel-type electrolyte, which can offer enhanced ionic conductivity as well as improved safety. Another research team at KIST led by Dr. Jo Won-il is experimenting with next-generation battery concepts including lithium-sulfur and lithium-metal technologies. EVs, drones and other high-tech applications will require batteries with improved capacity and efficiency. A number of research activities are being conducted in Korea to develop pioneering technologies that can lead the high-capacity battery market. Posco ChemTech is working to develop new anode materials, which can store up to 10 times more lithium ions than existing materials. A KAIST research team headed by professor Kim Il-du is at the forefront of research into lithium-air batteries that use air as an active material.