[Excellent R&D] Stepping Stone to Overcome Stratospheric Conditions
Professor Kim Han-su (Department of Energy Engineering)
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Aircraft usually fly at the top of the troposphere or the lower end of the stratosphere. Although there is less turbulence and weather constraints in the stratosphere, launching an aircraft into the stratosphere is difficult because there exists no efficient battery that can stand the harsh conditions of the atmosphere as of now. Here to change this dilemma is Professor Kim Han-su (Department of Energy Engineering) who is working on developing a secondary battery that can withstand the harsh conditions of the stratosphere.
In order to survive in the stratosphere, the battery must have high-density (meaning it can store more energy in the given mass) as well as be resistant to low temperatures. Kim’s solution was to use the sulfide electrolyte based all-solid-state secondary battery. The fire-retardant characteristics of the battery ensured the battery’s stability. However, there remained a problem that all-solid-state batteries have relatively lower energy density compared to other secondary batteries on the market. Thus, Kim’s team is currently in the progress of attempting to use high-density lithium in the battery development process to create a battery that has high energy density and is temperature resistant.
Kim’s research is especially valuable since the batteries can be used in drones, which are expected to substitute satellites in the future. According to the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), it takes about 30 million won per kilogram to launch a satellite. Scientists expect the drones in the stratosphere to perform the same but in a cost-efficient way. “Most of what we anticipate from satellites can be embodied by drones,” said Kim. “Even though we cannot replace the satellites’ roles in observing outer space, drones can be an alternative in a practical sense.”
Kim expressed his goals in creating a battery that can be utilized for both military and commercial purposes. The common facts of today are the products of yesterday’s research. The effort of Kim’s team will be a stepping stone to an unprecedented technology.
Oh Kyu-jin firstname.lastname@example.org
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