The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) announced a groundbreaking achievement in battery technology. A collaborative research team has developed a nonflammable electrolyte for lithium-ion batteries, eliminating fire hazards at room temperature. As the use of lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles and energy storage systems grows, concerns about fires and explosions escalate. This innovative electrolyte opens new possibilities for safer and high-performance batteries, propelling us towards a future of greener energy solutions.
The conventional linear organic carbonate used in lithium-ion battery electrolytes has a low flash point, making it susceptible to fires even at room temperature. To reduce flammability, intensive fluorination or concentrated salts were used, but they had drawbacks, limiting their commercialization. However, the team's groundbreaking approach, applying alkyl chain extension and alkoxy substitution to the diethyl carbonate (DEC) molecule, led to the development of a new electrolyte, bis(2-methoxyethyl) carbonate (BMEC). This new solution boasts a flash point 90°C higher than the conventional DEC solution, ensuring safety during battery operation.
Not only does BMEC retain over 92% of the original rate capability of conventional electrolytes, but it also reduces combustible gas evolution and heat generation. The stable operation of lithium-ion batteries over 500 cycles and successful nail-penetration tests further underscore the potential of this nonflammable electrolyte.
Dr. Minah Lee of KIST emphasizes the research's significance, stating, "This nonflammable electrolyte opens new doors in battery design, offering both cost competitiveness and compatibility with high-energy density electrode materials. We are paving the way for high-performance batteries with exceptional thermal stability, shaping a safer and sustainable future."