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Current Status and Future of Sodium Ion Batteries

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Update time : 2021-11-18 16:36:33
On November 8, 2021, at the sodium ion battery expert meeting, experts from Fudan University introduced the current technical background and production progress of sodium batteries.
 
Technical background of sodium ion battery:
The energy storage mechanism of sodium ion electrons is the same as that of lithium ion batteries. Both use the migration of ions between the positive and negative electrodes to realize the storage and release of electrical energy. Sodium ions themselves are also positively charged, but the radius of sodium ions is 1/3 larger than that of lithium, so they move slower than lithium and have a lower energy density than lithium ion batteries. Sodium resources are very rich, and lithium energy materials are very scarce in China which mainly depend on import; hence the future costs will be higher and higher. Sodium resources are 1,000 times that of lithium resources. However, the technology of sodium-ion batteries is not yet mature, and the main work is still in the laboratory. According to resource advantages, it is the most likely resource to replace lithium. However, its energy density is low, so it is not suitable for multiple energy density requirements. For example, mobile phones and notebook computers are not suitable. However, for energy storage and electric vehicles which have large volume, there is large market demand. Sodium ion batteries will not be used in passenger cars at the beginning in the future, because they require high energy density, but can be usable for electric buses. Distributed energy storage and the energy storage of the power grid have great application prospects.
 
Technological development progress:
From the perspective of research and development, the current anode and cathode materials of sodium batteries have used the material system of lithium-ion batteries for reference. After testing, the positive electrode still uses a layered electrode material similar to the lithium cobalt oxygen in the lithium battery and the latter ternary, which is expected to be mass-produced in the future. There is also a phosphate system, but if you want to turn lithium iron phosphate into sodium iron phosphate, sodium iron phosphate has poor sodium storage performance, so it may be replaced or optimized with other elements, such as sodium vanadium phosphate or sodium manganese phosphate which also belong to the phosphate system. The other is the Prussian system. The photoelectric cycle of the Prussian blue is relatively stable, but the disadvantage is that the energy density is relatively low and the capacity is lower than that of phosphate and wheel-shaped materials. Therefore, it has not yet been determined which group of the three major material systems is better. The most mature negative electrode in lithium batteries is graphite. However, using graphite as a negative electrode material has very poor performance and cannot be used for powerful purposes. Another hard carbon material is very good as a negative electrode. The hard carbon material is a slightly disorderly arrangement of amorphous structural materials. The sodium storage performance of this hard carbon material, the current laboratory results are comparable to the current performance of graphite processing. Therefore, the best battery negative electrode material for the negative electrode is hard carbon, but hard carbon has no mass-produced manufacturers, although some manufacturers are already planning for hard carbon mass production.
 
The electrolyte of the lithium battery uses lithium hexafluorophosphate solution, and the sodium battery uses sodium hexafluorophosphate dissolved in lithium carbonate, which works well. If it is to be used for high-voltage electricity, when using sodium perchlorate, the dissolved salt needed to be changed slightly. But in any case, the electrolyte is very similar to the lithium battery, and the solvent is unchanged. The diaphragm can be the same diaphragm as the lithium battery. The negative electrode can use aluminum foil as a throttle, because the cost of aluminum foil is much lower than that of copper foil. Using aluminum foil as the negative electrode can reduce the current collector. The manufacturing process of the current collector and the manufacturing process of the lithium battery are also very similar.
 
Therefore, the production line of lithium batteries can be adjusted to produce sodium-ion batteries, so if the battery factory wants to transform, its replacement costs will not be too large. The biggest problem with mass production now is that as a rising technology, to promote it from laboratory to industrialization, the technology may not be stable and materials may not be available.
 
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