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LG Chem flies unmanned aerial vehicle with next-gen battery

Is now first South Korean company to fly vehicle at highest degree using lithium-sulfur battery

KARI’s EAV-3 powered with LG Chem’s lithium-sulfur battery flies at a height of 22 kilometers for seven hours (LG Chem)
KARI’s EAV-3 powered with LG Chem’s lithium-sulfur battery flies at a height of 22 kilometers for seven hours (LG Chem)

LG Chem became the first company in Korea to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle using next-generation lithium-sulfur battery into the 22-kilometer-high stratosphere, the company said Thursday.

The test flight, conducted on Aug. 30 jointly with Korea Aerospace Research Institute, flew the high-altitude solar unmanned aerial vehicle EAV-3 equipped with lithium-sulfur battery for a total of 13 hours.

During the flight, EAV-3 was able to stably operate in the 12- to 22-kilometer-high stratosphere for seven hours, a feat previously unaccomplished by any Korean company. Carriers are typically unable to fly at that height due to the adverse conditions of temperatures below 70 degrees Celsius and vacuum-like 1/25 atmospheric pressure.
Lithium-sulfur battery (LG Chem)
Lithium-sulfur battery (LG Chem)

Lithium-sulfur batteries, like solid-state batteries, are a next-generation technology believed to replace the currently widespread lithium-ion battery.

A lithium-sulfur battery uses sulfur and carbon composite for the anode and light-weight lithium metal for the cathode, creating 1.5 percent more energy density per weight than a lithium-ion battery, LG Chem explained.

LG Chem envisions mass producing the product for electric vehicles as early as 2025.

Overseas, battery makers Sion Power and Airbus Defense and Space are in a partnership to build lithium-sulfur powered Zephyr 8 aircrafts.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (kaylalim@heraldcorp.com)
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