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Issue 4, 2018
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Abnormal self-discharge in lithium-ion batteries

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Lithium-ion batteries are expected to serve as a key technology for large-scale energy storage systems (ESSs), which will help satisfy recent increasing demands for renewable energy utilization. Besides their promising electrochemical performance, the low self-discharge rate (<5% of the stored capacity over 1 month) of lithium-ion batteries is one of their most significant advantages for ESSs. Herein, contrary to conventional belief, we report that the self-discharge of LIBs can be abnormally accelerated when the battery has been exposed even to a routine short-term thermal exposure. We demonstrate that this thermal ‘history’ in addition to the temperature itself is memorized in the battery and accelerates the self-discharge rate. The series of characterizations performed in our work reveal that the electrolyte salt acts as a strong oxidizing agent by vigorously damaging the surface of the cathode, producing an internal ‘parasitic’ lithium source that continuously supplies lithium for the self-discharge. Although it is widely known that battery operation at elevated temperature generally induces faster degradation of capacity over multiple cycles, the key finding here is that not only the operation temperature but also the ‘thermal history’ of the battery should be carefully considered because this history remains and continues to affect the self-discharge rate afterwards. The self-discharge of LIBs has remained largely neglected; however, our findings suggest that close attention must be paid to the self-discharge of LIBs applied to large-scale ESSs, which, unlike mobile electronic devices, will be exposed to various outdoor temperature conditions.

Graphical abstract: Abnormal self-discharge in lithium-ion batteries

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Publication details

The article was received on 19 Jan 2018, accepted on 27 Feb 2018 and first published on 01 Mar 2018

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8EE00186C
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2018,11, 970-978
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    Abnormal self-discharge in lithium-ion batteries

    W. M. Seong, K. Park, M. H. Lee, S. Moon, K. Oh, H. Park, S. Lee and K. Kang, Energy Environ. Sci., 2018, 11, 970
    DOI: 10.1039/C8EE00186C

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