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POSTECH LabCumentary Yong-Tae Kim (Materials Science & Engineering)

Laboratory for Electrode Material Property

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Laboratory for Electrode Material Property

Yong-Tae Kim (Materials Science & Engineering)

Since 2015 when 197 nations signed the Paris Agreement with the aim to reduce Earth’s average temperature, the growing importance of eco-friendly energy has become even more apparent and necessary. This prompted a number of green energy research projects in the field of electrochemistry that intends to study interactions among materials and their relationships with electric energy.

 

The Laboratory for Electrode Material Property directed by professor Yong-Tae Kim at the Department of Materials Science & Engineering, POSTECH, analyses and evaluates the properties of electrocatalysts applicable to fuel cells, lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, P2G energy storage systems and other renewable energy segments on the basis of electrochemistry theories.

 

One of the primary research areas explored at the Lab concerns the battery materials used to manufacture green automobiles. This key component of eco-friendly vehicles plays an essential role as its capacity, safety, service life, charging/discharging efficiency, and price competitiveness need to be outstanding to drive the complete shift from internal combustion engine cars to electric vehicles or hydrogen-fueled vehicles. The Lab is doing its part in this transition by analyzing the properties of the catalysts used for battery electrodes and developing high-performing electrodes in so doing.

 

In 2020, the Lab released its research findings on the durability enhancement of fuel cells. Within the fuel cell mounted on hydrogen-powered vehicles, shut-down events lead to instantaneous potential jump in electrodes as a result of unintended temporary air leakages, and this hampers the durability of electrodes. The Lab offered a solution to this by leveraging metal insulator transition (MIT) that occurs in electrodes based on tungsten oxides to suspend the electrode reactions of catalysts in the event of rising partial air pressure. The article graced the cover of the August 2020 issue of the international journal ‘Nature Catalysis’.

 

Researchers at the Lab are also engaged in metal processing research on the basis of electrochemistry, including but not limited to the corrosion and protection of metals and electrorefining. One of such studies involves the properties of high-entropy alloys that do not easily corrode at extremely-low or high temperatures or in high chloride conditions. High-entropy alloys are formed by mixing relatively equal proportions of five or more elements. The Lab is specifically focused on Cantor (CoCrMnFeNi) alloys known for their remarkable corrosion resistance performance.

 

Safeguarding the planet from global warming and climate change requires the development of hydrogen energy and other efficient renewable energy sources. At the Laboratory for Electrode Material Property, researchers are given a chance to both engage in research and experience the commercialization of research findings in the field of energy, including fuel cells, electrolysis of water and batteries. The Lab offers an ideal environment for students who wish to sincerely commit themselves to academic research and witness the application of their research outcomes in the energy sector across diverse industries.

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