Cheap New Battery Technology Could Solve Battery Shortages
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With more electric vehicles on the roads and rising demand for energy storage for homes, cars and cell manufacturers must consider the cost, availability, and supply chain of the essential components that comprise the battery. Lithium is one such component that has seen a dramatic increase in price due to the EV and stationary storage demands.
According to Bloomberg reports, between 2021 and 2022, the price of Lithium increased by an astounding 280 percent. Fortunately, some innovative companies are exploring new and innovative options to diversify the battery supply chain while reducing the environmental impact.
Sheffield-based Faradion is one of these companies studying the potential of sodium, the element found in salt. As a plentiful, inexpensive, and easily recycled substance – could it be a viable substitute for Lithium? Helen investigates!
The most exciting thing about sodium-ion batteries is that they are much more sustainable than lithium. It’s lower cost because it doesn’t have expensive raw materials and is safer.
This is spodumene. It’s the mineral that two-thirds of the world’s lithium comes from. It’s only found in a few places, the democratic republic of congo in Australia and a few others. It’s expensive, and there’s concern that there may not be enough of it to supply our voracious demand for electric vehicle batteries.
This is a common salt. There are 35 kilograms of it in every cubic meter of seawater, and there are deposits on land. It’s cheap as chips. It’s everywhere, and so there’s a question about whether you could replace the lithium in our batteries with sodium from salt, and if you could, it would solve a lot of problems.
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Why pick sodium?
We’re talking here about replacing lithium with sodium now. Let’s have a look at why that works. This is the periodic table. It lays out all the elements that exist. There are all types of atoms that we have. Whatever we make has to be made out of things in here, so this is the toolbox we’ve got to work with.
Now, everything in a column has similar properties generally, but it gets heavier as you go down, so if we look up here in the top left-hand corner, we can see lithium right up there. It’s a really small atom. It’s only the third one, and just below it here is sodium n a, and so sodium has similar properties to lithium.
How does it compare to lithium?
It’s just a tiny larger, which means the case that they’ve picked one of the elements from the air.
A very valid reason for the idea that sodium could be a good substitute for lithium. The sodium ion battery functions much like an Ion battery. There are many flavors of lithium-ion that are available today. One is lithium iron phosphate, which is extremely similar to sodium ion technology, so it’s why sodium ion is being used in passenger vehicles in which lithium iron phosphate, and where we have a technology that can move. We’re now catching up with what’s known as NMC or nickel manganese cobalt technology, so we’ll see energy density improve.
However, it’s very similar to lithium running which began the last quarter of 2011, so it’s been a little more than 10 years. If you compare that progression concerning lithium-ion, you’ll notice that, in reality, progress has been much more rapid rate.
When we first began working on sodium iron, I think it was not an extremely well-known battery solution. Many people do not consider it because you examine the dimensions of the lithium Ion relative to sodium ions and see that sodium is heavier. You believe it’s not will be able to be a viable alternative from an energy density perspective. Still, in reality, the work we’ve conducted over the past 10 years has helped to change this perception. We can see it’s a legitimate technology solution.
Back to basics and a little bit of science!
Sodium is required to function the job in this system. We’re used to seeing batteries, and here’s an example of a battery. This is one of the batteries from Ferradion. It’s real, it’s absolutely real, and it’s working. When you look at the exterior of a battery, all we see are positive and negative terminals, and this is what we connect to our electrical circuit.
However, inside the battery, it appears somewhat different. So that, on the inside, these two elements are a cathode and an anode. These are simply electrical connectors that are connected to the battery. In between the cathode and the anode, there’s a normally liquid element, and it’s known as an electrolyte. The idea is that for electrons to move through the exterior of the circuit, outside of the battery, you’ll need charged particles, ions, to move between the anode and cathode within the battery.
In lithium-ion batteries, it’s lithium that’s going between the anode and cathode. In the sodium ion battery, it’s sodium doing the job. It appears to be very easy, but to make it work, the devil is far.
In the nitty gritty, the details are all about the things that go within it, which determines how efficient it is and how effectively it performs its job of being a battery in the form of a lithium-ion battery.
The lithium is in the cathode, and the electrolyte in the anode is constructed of graphite in a sodium-ion battery. In a battery, we swap out our cathode’s lithium for sodium lithium in the electrolyte to make sodium. Instead of using a graphite-type anode, we opt for a hard carbon since we use the hard carbon as an Anode instead of graphite-like the case with lithium-ion.
This means that we can use a greater selection of electrolytes available, and graphite is a limitation on the electrolytes available in lithium-ion that are only accessible through the anode made of carbon hard. Hence, limiting our operating temperatures within a larger range is possible.
This means it can be as low as 30 degrees C. All the way up to 60 degrees Celsius, so this is a wide range of temperatures, right? The electrolytes are larger than stable. This is right, so they are safer from a temperature standpoint and have a larger operating window for temperatures.
Salt for home energy storage
Just to show that this is real and works. This is a residential energy storage system, so it’s a huge battery that you can put within your home to take the energy from solar panels and is filled with these cells. It’s a sodium-ion battery product, and the way it’s at work. The market for sodium-ion batteries is Really broad, but I would say that the lowest-hanging product in the market currently being explored is stationary storage of energy. So we’re already shipping items to Australia.
We’ve allied with Australia, which is why these are home energy storage units. We have them at our facility in the United States. You’ll be It’s evident today that it’s going to telecom, which is a large portion of its growth. And there will also be grid and utility, so that’s the market at the beginning.
What about cars
However, if a big heavy is slow to move swiftly, it’s an excellent marketplace for sodium and Ferrari when you look at their performance. The present technology of sodium iron cells is similar to
lithium-ion phosphate due to energy density. We have a plan to develop lithium-ion phosphate to go beyond that.
We’re considering a higher than 200 watts per kilogram, for instance, on the level of cells. How does this compare to conventional batteries that we currently have available? It’s more than the density energy of lithium-ion, for instance. So if you’re asking me to tell you if this is something that could be suitable for automotive use in cars with high acceleration or does not move as fast.
We can identify applications where LFP is a component of the solution battery phosphate, lithium phosphate. We can see sodium ions as an alternative to applications.
What about Sustainability
In which led acid batteries are utilized and in applications where lithium-ion batteries are used, and there’s been some recent discussion about the use of lithium-ion phosphate batteries in automotive applications It’s always thrilling when a new technology is developed.
Still, we’re now aware there aren’t enough concerns that the most crucial thing for a better tomorrow is whether these solutions are affordable. Are they affordable to everyone? Are they sustainable to make, and are they recyclable? These factors determine if these options will be part of a sustainable future. And that’s the thing that will determine if the sodium tortoise could take over the sodium ion in lithium hair.
It can be recycled extensively in the manner you recycle lithium-ion batteries. One of the primary distinctions we can make is two primary differences. First, it is possible to completely charge the cell to zero volts, extract all energy from it, and cut it short to zero volts. You can’t do that with lithium-ion batteries, so when you take a lithium-ion battery to recycle.
Cheaper than Lithium
It is always 30-40 percent of the cost. Therefore, it is more secure for that to happen from a mining perspective in urban areas. There isn’t the cost of raw materials, so there’s no need to collect as much from that point of view from the point of view of usage. No, they will not notice the difference. The moment. The main distinction you can observe when you examine a sodium ion cell as opposed to one with lithium ions is that it has aluminum on both sides of the podium. There’s also copper and aluminum in your lithium.
However, in terms of an end user’s experience using their battery won’t differ at all. The only difference is that they’ll be able perhaps to see the cheaper cost by using sodium ions. I’m certain that an end-user would
You will appreciate the difference, and the cost of sodium ion vs. lithium is quite significant.
The sodium isn’t made of the essential raw materials lithium. There’s no lithium, copper, no cobalt, no cobalt, no graphite, and we’re left with a less expensive raw material that is ecologically safer. Still, in terms of quantity, it’ll be between 24 and 32 percent cheaper in a cell than lithium, which is pretty significant.