Automaker major Hyundai Motor Group and the South Korean public university Seoul National University have opened their Joint Battery Research Center, aiming to advance battery technologies and foster industry-academia cooperation.
The new research facility will create a space for battery-only research within the expanded Institute of Chemical Processes of Seoul National University, spanning three floors at 901m2.
The facility will consist of seven laboratories and conference rooms for battery development, analysis, measurement and process.
A memorandum of understanding on the Center was signed between the partners in November 2021.
Seoul National University’s first EV battery research facility
This is the first time, states Hyundai, that a research facility specialising in electric vehicle (EV) batteries has been built within Seoul National University.
With the opening of the Joint Battery Research Center, Hyundai Group will work with battery experts in South Korea to lay the groundwork for research and development of battery-related technologies.
The Joint Battery Research Center aims to focus on advanced research into leading next-generation battery technologies that can dramatically increase EV driving distance and shorten charging time, as well as research on battery condition monitoring technology and innovative process technology.
A total of 22 joint research projects will be carried out in four divisions, including lithium metal batteries, solid-state batteries, battery management systems (BMS) and battery process technology.
Twenty-one professors, master’s and doctorate-level talents from South Korean universities will participate in the research. Fourteen of the 22 research projects will be related to lithium metal and solid-state batteries, focusing their core capabilities on developing next-generation batteries.
In the field of lithium metal batteries, research will be conducted on high-durability lithium-electrolyte material element technology and shape analysis to minimise deterioration, while in the field of solid-state batteries, research will be conducted on sulfide-based anode materials, electrode/electrolyte coating methods and ultra-high energy density cathode active materials.
From theory to application
Stemming from the industry-academia collaboration, a key feature for the facility will be to focus equally on research considering mass production as for theory.
To that end, the Joint Battery Research Center has the same level of research infrastructure as the equipment applied to the Hyundai Motor and Kia R&D Centers, states Hyundai Group, such as precision battery analysis equipment, high-precision rheometers, cell manufacturing equipment, and impedance measuring devices, so that the university’s research results can be quickly applied to products.
Researchers from Hyundai Motor and Kia will be dispatched to the Center to participate as members of the joint research team.
Through consultations and seminars on battery technology, insights and development directions will be discussed, alongside a consultative body that will be formed regularly to share information on global battery industry trends and results.
Hyundai Group will have a support system to help the Joint Battery Research Center secure capabilities to develop next-generation batteries. To support research activities, the Group will invest over KRW30 billion ($23.5 million) by 2030. The investment includes the establishment of the Center and the preparation of experimental equipment.
The Group has appointed Professor Jang Wook Choi (최장욱), an expert in battery science, as the head of the Joint Battery Research Center. Professor Choi will oversee the overall research projects and management of technology development.
According to the Group, Hyundai Motor will invest KRW9.5 trillion ($74.4 billion) over the next 10 years to improve battery performance, develop next-generation batteries and build infrastructure.