Battery technology achieves record high sodium-metal cycling rates

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While 18650 lithium ion battery pack currently dominate the industry, serious concern remains about the limited availability of lithium used in these batteries. Conversely, sodium-ion batteries provide a more sustainable alternative due to the tremendous abundance of salt in our oceans, thereby potentially providing a lower-cost alternative to the rapidly growing demand for energy storage.

Currently most sodium-ion batteries contain a liquid electrolyte, which has a fundamental flammability risk. In contrast, Sodium (Na) Super Ionic Conductor (NASICON) materials are non-flammable solid-state electrolytes with high ionic conductivity and superior chemical and electrochemical stability.

Researchers within the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering, have now developed a NASICON-based solid-state sodium battery (SSSB) architecture that outperforms current sodium-ion batteries in its ability to use sodium metal as the anode for higher energy density, cycle it at record high rates, and all with a more stable ceramic electrolyte that is not flammable like current liquid electrolytes.

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Dr. Eric Wachsman, Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute notes, “Sodium opens the opportunity for more sustainable and lower cost energy storage while solid-state sodium-metal technology provides the opportunity for higher energy density batteries. However, until now no one has been able to achieve the high room temperature solid-state sodium-metal cycling rates we have achieved here.”

The unique 3D electrolyte architecture was recently published in Energy & Environmental Science and provides the promise of high energy density and commercially viable solid-state sodium batteries. The successful demonstration of both stable sodium cycling at high current densities and full cell cycling with thin 3D structured ion-conducting NASICON solid-electrolytes are a significant advancement towards sustainable and more economical energy storage technology.

More information: Prem Wicram Jaschin et al, High-rate cycling in 3D dual-doped NASICON architectures toward room-temperature sodium-metal-anode solid-state batteries, Energy & Environmental Science (2023). DOI: 10.1039/D3EE03879C

Journal information: Energy & Environmental Science

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