Are seawater-based Na-ion batteries the future of sustainable batteries?

via University of Southern Denmark

Article Highlights
  • The race is on to develop even more efficient and rechargable batteries for the future. One promising option is to make batteries based on sodium, which is found in abundance in seawater
  • A promising alternative is to replace lithium with the metal sodium - to make Na-ion batteries. Sodium is found in large quantities in seawater and can be easily extracted
  • The Na-ion battery is still under development, and researchers are working on increasing its service life, lowering its charging time and making batteries that can deliver many watts
  • An obvious advantage is that sodium is a very readily available resource, which is found in very large quantities in seawater. Lithium, on the other hand, is a limited resource that is mined only in a few places in the world. Dorthe Bomholdt Ravnsbæk, research leader
  • Na-ion batteries do not need cobalt, which is still needed in Li-ion batteries. Most of the cobalt used today to make Li-ion batteries, is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where rebellion, disorganized mining and child labor create uncertainty and moral qualms regarding the country's cobalt trade
  • It also counts on the plus side that Na-ion batteries can be produced at the same factories that make Li-ion batteries today
  • a new electrode material based on iron, manganese and phosphorus is key. The new thing about the material is the addition of the element manganese, which not only gives the battery a higher voltage (volts), but also increases the capacity of the battery and is likely to deliver more watts
  • One challenge is that it can be difficult to make small Na-ion batteries. But large batteries also have value - for example, when it comes to storing wind or solar energy

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