A Joint Research Team from DGIST and KITECH is Accelerating the Practical Application of Next-Generation Batteries that are Fire-Resistant through Dual-Layer Coating Technology!

- The introduction of dual-layer coating technology, incorporating both polymers and inorganic materials, has led to the development of stabilization technology for the anode of aqueous zinc batteries. - This technology significantly mitigates the core issues of aqueous zinc batteries, specifically addressing the growth of zinc dendrites and the hydrogen evolution reaction.

□ Professor Hongkyung Lee of DGIST’s Energy Science and Engineering, under the leadership of President Kunwoo Lee, collaborated with Dr. Chanhoon Kim's Clean Energy Conversion Group at the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH) to introduce a stabilization technology for unstable battery systems through the adoption of a dual-layer coating method.


□ Lithium metal, renowned as an ideal anode material for batteries, has a theoretical capacity ten times higher than commercially used graphite, thereby allowing the creation of batteries surpassing energy density limits of existing secondary lithium batteries. However, lithium-ion batteries pose fire and explosion risks during overcharging or over-discharge, thus creating significant constraints for their use in electric vehicles and portable electronic devices. Consequently, research on safe alternative technologies is being actively pursued.


□ Meanwhile, aqueous zinc batteries, known for their high energy density and environmentally friendly characteristics, are drawing significant attention in the energy storage system (ESS) sector. Regarded as a safe alternative technology, efforts to enhance their activation are deemed crucial. However, the commercialization of aqueous zinc batteries has yet to be achieved due to challenges such as zinc dendrite formation,[1] hydrogen evolution reactions, and zinc corrosion.


□ To address these issues, Professor Lee’s team introduced a novel dual-layer coating technique employing both polymers and inorganic materials. This process involves simultaneously applying metal fluoride and polymer solution onto zinc metal. The metal fluoride is placed in the lower layer, while the non-reactive polymer layer is positioned above. The upper polymer layer effectively prevents direct contact between water and zinc metal, thereby suppressing hydrogen evolution reactions by over threefold and preventing zinc metal corrosion. Meanwhile, the metal fluoride layer underneath exhibits zincophilic properties, effectively inhibiting zinc dendrite formation.


□ Professor Hongkyung Lee from the Department of Energy Science and Engineering stated, “This research has innovatively addressed the persistent challenges of aqueous zinc batteries, including zinc dendrites, hydrogen evolution reactions, and zinc corrosion, through a simple dual-layer design. We anticipate that this technology will expand to various systems utilizing metal anodes, beyond just zinc.”


□ This study was co-authored by master’s student Jaewoong Han from DGIST and researcher Jeongeun Lee from KITECH as joint first authors, with Dr. Chanhoon Kim from KITECH and Professor Hongkyung Lee from DGIST as corresponding authors. The research findings were published in the prestigious Chemical Engineering Journal (Impact Factor: 15.1) on April 1, 2024. Additionally, this research was supported by four programs: the National Research Foundation of Korea’s “Young Researcher Program,” the Ministry of Science and ICT’s “Leading Research Center (ERC),” the “Joint Research Project of the Institute of Science and Technology,” and the “Brain Korea 21 Four” project.

- Ccorresponding Author E-mail Address : [email protected]

[1] Dendrite Formation: A phenomenon where, during charging and discharging, metal lithium grows in fine, thread-like clusters. As these clusters enlarge, they can cause internal fires or explosions in the battery, compromising its stability.

Published: 06 May 2024

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