SK Innovation will develop next-generation battery technology with University of Texas at Austin Professor John Goodenough, who was awarded a 2019 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his foundational work on the lithium-ion battery.
Goodenough and Dr. Hadi Khani at The University of Texas at Austin aim to develop unique gel-polymer electrolyte for a lithium metal battery with the goal of providing higher energy density and better safety at a competitive cost.
Current lithium-ion chemistry is not likely to overcome 800 Wh/L energy density. To deliver a battery with 1,000 Wh/L energy density, a lithium metal anode and solid-state electrolyte is viewed as a promising solution.
A critical hurdle to realizing an all-solid lithium-metal battery is dendrite growth, tiny needle-like projections that can create issues with the battery. These growths on the surface of the lithium metal can lead to energy loss and malfunctions, causing catastrophic failure of the battery and even safety hazards.
SK Innovation researchers hold EV battery cells.
To overcome this hurdle and deliver a next-generation battery to market, SK Innovation along with Goodenough and Khani plan to develop a new gel-polymer electrolyte system which will evenly transport lithium-ion while filtering undesired ions from traveling and ultimately suppress dendrite growth. The goal is to develop a microporous polymer matrix with weakly- coordinating-anion system that can be applied to larger, more powerful cells.