A research team led by Professor Youngshik Kim from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has successfully developed the first seawater battery. This is a secondary battery that uses sodium ions instead of lithium ions, which are much more costly, to generate electricity. Since it uses seawater, which is renewable, it is not only cost-efficient, but also eco-friendly. Moreover, it is immersible in water, and in the process of charging, it can desalinate seawater, which suggests possible applications in other fields. This technology is therefore receiving attention for being a potential next-generation energy storage system (ESS) for industrial uses of electricity as well as supplying energy to large buildings.
The first off-the-shelf commercial product with UNIST’s seawater battery technology is on its way. The light buoy for a navigation beacon based on seawater battery, jointly developed by UNIST and Woori Marine Co., was submitted to the industry exhibition of the 19th International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) Conference.