Sodium-ion batteries get closer to competing with lithium-ion

February 01, 2019 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Sodium-ion batteries get closer to competing with lithium-ion
Researchers at the Nagoya Institute of Technology (NITech) in Japan have demonstrated that a specific material can act as an efficient battery component for sodium-ion batteries that will compete with lithium-ion batteries for several battery characteristics, especially speed of charge.

Sodium-ion batteries are an attractive alternative to lithium-based ion batteries due to several reasons. Sodium is not a limited resource – it is abundant in the earth's crust as well as in seawater. Also, sodium-based components have a possibility to yield much faster charging time given the appropriate crystal structure design.

However, sodium cannot be simply swapped with lithium used in the current battery materials, as it is a larger ion size and slightly different chemistry. Consequently, researchers are looking for the best material for the sodium ion battery among vast number of candidates by trial-and-error.

Scientists at NITech have found a rational and efficient way around this issue. After extracting about 4300 compounds from crystal structure database and following a high-throughput computation of these compounds, one of them yielded favorable results and was therefore a promising candidate as a sodium-ion battery component.

The researchers identified that Na2V3O7 demonstrates desirable electrochemical performance as well as crystal and electronic structures. This compound shows fast charging performance, as it can be stably charged within 6 minutes. Further, the researchers demonstrated that the compound leads to long battery life as well as a short charging time.

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