Lithium-ion batteries have transformed the way we power our electronic devices. However, due to the issue of dendrites (spiky lithium structures that accumulate on the anode during charging) that can pose a serious safety hazard by short-circuiting the battery, scientists have been working to develop even more powerful variations.
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Scientists and engineers have been trying to develop sodium batteries for about a decade in an attempt to eliminate the dendrite problem by replacing both the lithium and cobalt used in conventional lithium-ion batteries with cheaper, more environmentally friendly sodium, and a recent breakthrough suggests that the researchers may have found the solution.
A team of researchers at the University of Texas developed a stable sodium-based battery material, which was funded in part by the National Science Foundation of the United States. This new technology resists dendrite growth and can recharge as quickly as a traditional lithium-ion battery, but unlike lithium-ion batteries, it has the potential to produce more energy.
How it Works
The underlying mechanism of this new battery technology entails rolling a thin sheet of sodium metal onto an antimony telluride powder and repeatedly folding the sheet to create a new anode material. This results in a uniform distribution of sodium atoms that can withstand dendrite formation and corrosion, resulting in a safer and more stable solution.
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Despite global uncertainty, demand for stationary energy storage is increasing at an exponential rate across a broad range of applications. In most cases, a stationary energy storage system includes batteries as well as other components. Scientists believe that this technology could provide a stable, sustainable, and less expensive solution to meet the ever-increasing demand.