On August 30th, LG Chem and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute flew an unmanned aircraft using LG Chem’s new lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery technology. The EAV-3 UAV features a wing span of 20 meters, a fuselage length of 9 meters, yet only weighs 21 kilograms. It achieved an altitude of 22 kilometers above sea level and flew for 13 hours. Thanks to solar panels, the aircraft should be able to charge during the day and use the energy stored in its batteries to fly through the night.
The Li-S batteries are said to have an energy density of roughly 50% higher than the more widely available state-of-the art Li-Ion batteries that are currently on market. The battery performed well in temperatures of -70 degrees Celcius and atmospheric pressures of 4% ground level atmosphere. According to the company, the test flight proves the technology provides stable charging and discharging. In a next step, they want to fly the UAV for multiple days and nights in a row.
LG Chem intends to market the batteries after 2025, when they have reached a target energy density of two times that of the current lithium-ion batteries.