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Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology

KIOST develops an advanced technology for seawater batteries

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  • Date : 2020-06-16
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The Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) announced that it has developed a technology for reducing the extent to which marine organisms adhere to seawater batteries, after having already developed a seawater battery system that can be applied to all marine equipment and facilities.

With this advancement, the problem of compromised seawater battery performance caused by marine life sticking to the surfaces of such batteries is expected to be addressed.



A seawater battery is a new electrochemical system for the storage of electrical energy that utilizes seawater as a source of the Na+ ion cathode. It can supply the same amount of electricity at half the size and weight of typical lithium-ion batteries, and it costs less than half as much.

As the seawater battery does not use lithium, for which Korea is totally reliant on imports, it is technologically independent. Of particular interest is the fact that a high-capacity electricity storage system based on seawater batteries is touted as a core technology for the future of eco-friendly energy.


  In 2017 KIOST signed a business agreement with the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), which holds the foundational proprietary technology for the seawater battery cell,* and undertook research and development to apply seawater batteries to real marine environments, becoming the first in the world to produce a module-type seawater battery prototype in 2019.
 * A battery cell is the smallest single unit capable of converting energy generated through chemical and physical reactions of materials into electrical energy. A battery system is built by connecting modules comprised of cells.
This year, KIOST is developing a battery management system (BMS) for seawater battery systems and conducting a test to measure the long-term performance of existing seawater batteries.

  The technology for reducing the extent to which marine organisms attach themselves to seawater batteries uses ultrasonic waves and infrared light to achieve this goal, thereby preventing batteries from becoming heavier and less efficient while kept underwater for long periods of time.
Researchers of KIOST’s Maritime ICT R&D Center filed an application for a patent for the technology, bringing its total number of submitted patent applications related to seawater batteries to six, among which three were accepted for registration. This gives KIOST ownership of the world’s most advanced technologies in this field.



Deputy Director, Baek Seung-jae of the center said, “Seawater batteries are significant in that they provide a source of electrical power that is necessary for the application of IoT technology in maritime environments. By exploring demand, we at KIOST are dedicated to the commercialization of seawater battery technology.”



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Last Update : 2020-12-17