How A New Sodium Battery Could Power The Future

New battery technology in development

Source: Photo by Hilary Halliwell

Photo by Hilary Halliwell:

By: August Bhatt, Journalist

In 2022 the lithium ion batteries cost rose for the first time ever to over 78000$ per metric ton and as the unsustainable methods of production for lithium-ions have been extremely difficulty to make sustainable, has made the industry in need of a major overhaul. Now they have a replacement.

Sodium-ion batteries are here, outperforming lithium-ions in a number of key ways. Since sodium-ions are so stable with no chance of overheating, they are significantly safer than lithium-ions. Sodium-ions also are significantly cheaper as sodium is 100x more plentiful than lithium, and sodium-ion batteries are much more easily recycled. The only weakness of sodium-ion batteries are their low energy density and inconsistent rechargeability.

The problem with rechargeability lies in how batteries work, electrolytes flow through the battery keeping the energy trapped in the battery, over time 

A table listing pros and cons of sodium-ion batteries.though the reactions that keep the energy flowing through the battery gets weaker dropping energy and stopping the battery from recharging, though this issue could soon be a problem of the past as recently the PNNL  (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)  led by Yan Jin, and Phung Lin, have developed a new recipe for the solution that powers the battery, that significantly improves the re-chargeability of batteries, with them now staying at 90% efficiency over 300+ charges.

 Image Source C&EN Research

This all now points to a sodium-ion boom with their entrance into the mainstream market starting with the Chinese company Pylontech announcing plans to mass produce sodium-ions and the subsequent certification of the company proving the effectiveness of such batteries.               

Hopefully some time soon the batteries that we use in our phones, storage centers, and even toys could be powered by sodium-ions. Until then keep a look out for sodium-ions.

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Source: C&EN research.
Copyright  2023 American Chemical Society