Sodium Ion Battery Facts You Need To Know

Sep 21, 2022 | ADVANCED ENERGY, Batteries and Capacitors

Sodium Ion Battery: The Future of Energy Storage?

A sodium-ion battery is an old battery discovery with a new life being developed to meet the ever-growing demands of electric vehicles. These batteries offer several advantages over traditional lithium-ion batteries, including lower cost and improved safety.

sodium ion battery

sodium ion battery

Factors Fueling a Rise in Sodium-ion Battery Demand

A sodium ion battery is becoming increasingly attractive as we look for cleaner and more efficient ways to power electric vehicles. Unlike traditional lead-acid batteries, these require no rare metals or toxic chemicals, making them both more environmentally friendly and less expensive to produce. In addition, they offer a longer lifespan.

Several factors are fueling the demand for sodium-ion batteries.

First, the price of lithium-ion batteries has been rising steadily in recent years, making them less affordable for many consumers. Sodium-ion batteries can provide a more budget-friendly alternative.

Second, the range and performance of electric vehicles are improving as battery technology advances. This is making EVs a more viable option for consumers, which in turn is boosting demand for sodium-ion batteries.

Finally, the need for energy storage solutions is driving its growth. 

Looking ahead, the shortage of lithium supplies is expected to spur an even a high market for sodium-ion batteries. Sodium has a relative abundance and appears promising with balanced supply and demand for future needs. 

Discovery of the Sodium Ion Battery

The sodium-ion battery was discovered in 1807 by an English chemist and inventor Sir Humphry Davy. These batteries have been around since the 1980s, but they gained prominence in the 1990s due to their high energy density. Recently, there has been a renewed focus on sodium-ion batteries because of concerns about the dwindling global lithium supplies. 

It’s no secret that batteries are a big part of our lives. They power our mobile phones, laptops, and cars. Thus, several factors—such as pricing, durability, power density, safety, and temperature operating range—determine greater efficacy.

Besides energy density, a sodium ion battery performs well in the abovementioned factors.

Components of a Sodium Ion Battery

1. Battery

It transforms chemical energy into electrical energy.

2. Sodium

A soft, silvery-white element with high reactivity and an atomic number 11. Its name in Latin, Natrium, is the source of its symbol.

3. Ion

An atom or a collection of atoms having a neutral electric charge due to electron gain or loss.

4. Electrode

An electric conductor that transfers electric current is required to generate an electrical charge.

5. Anode

Oxidation occurs at an anode during the discharge process. It works as an electron acceptor.

6. Cathode

During the discharge process, reduction occurs at a cathode. It works as an electron donor.

7. Electrolyte

The ionic medium for current transmission.

8. Separator

A porous polymer-based membrane protects an internal shot circuit by acting as an electrical insulator. In addition to enabling ion transport, it prevents anode and cathode interaction.

9. Solvent mixture

An electrolyte solvent for high ionic conductivity and wide temperature operating range.

10. Aluminum current collector

Due to high electrical conductivity and durability, aluminum foil is a useful current collector.

11. Binder

Compounds bind the active materials inside an electrode and inhibit electrode swelling.

12. Intercalation

Reversible ion inclusion among structures or layered materials.

13. Deintercalation

Getting rid of molecules between structures or layered materials.

Comparison Between Sodium Ion and Lithium Ion Batteries

Sodium Ion BatteriesLithium Ion Batteries
Abundant resourceLimited resource
Sustainable sourcingRisky sourcing
Stable at diverse temperature rangeUnstable at high-temperature range
Good performance at low temperaturesPoor performance at low temperatures
HeavyLightweight
Less expensiveMore expensive
Quick charge and dischargeUnable to discharge for a longer time
Non-flammable batteryExplosive battery
Longer lifespanReduced lifespan
Battery recycling is simple and secureBattery recycling is challenging and dangerous

Sodium Ion Battery Advantages

1. Energy-efficient

Sodium-ion batteries have high energy efficiency due to rapid charging and discharging.

2. Abundant Availability

Sodium has a higher abundance than lithium leading to a growing need for sodium-ion batteries.

3. Super Versatile

These batteries have various applications in powering homes, businesses, and vehicles.

4. Less Hazardous

Sodium-ion batteries are sustainable and eco-friendly. In contrast, lithium-ion batteries emit poisonous fumes into the environment.

5 Low-cost Substitute

Sodium-ion batteries are affordable substitutes for lithium-ion batteries. Short availability and high mining costs make lithium-ion batteries expensive to manufacture.

6. Stable

Batteries are relatively stable at a greater temperature range with system effectiveness.

Sodium Ion Battery Disadvantages

1. Large Size

A sodium ion battery is heavier, and ions cannot move freely in liquid electrolytes due to sodium’s larger size than lithium. Typically, sodium weighs three times as much as lithium.

2. Low Energy Density

These batteries have lower energy density than lithium-ion batteries.

3. Sodium Ion Battery Applications

Sodium-ion batteries are used in various applications, including 

4. Power backup

As the world increasingly relies on digital and battery-powered infrastructure, it’s important to have a reliable power backup solution.

Sodium batteries are an ideal option for many applications, offering on-demand power to assure secure and efficient functioning. 

5. Automotive

Electric vehicles are increasingly popular in meeting carbon emission reduction goals. Sodium-ion batteries are affordable for electric vehicles, including electric bikes and cars. With EV sales anticipated to increase in the upcoming years, sodium-ion technology is the obvious choice for powering these vehicles.

6. Grid-level Usage

Reliable power is essential for smart grids. The unstable power supply can make things work poorly. Sodium-ion batteries maximize solar and wind energy to meet specific grid storage needs efficiently.

7. Industrial Mobility

Sodium-ion batteries’ consistent readiness and strong peak power improve asset utilization while lowering operational expenses.

Impending Shortage of Supply

Lithium-ion battery technology has enabled portable electronics for a long time. However, signs that predict its impending shortage are emerging due partly to the high costs associated with supplying these materials and an anticipated shift away from usage because it facilitates carbon emissions more than other alternatives. 

The battery market is dynamic and innovative, and so scientists are working hard to create new alternatives for these minerals’ use in power sources, such as electric cars or portable devices that require their batteries not only last long but also to be recycled when they’re done functioning so we can minimize our carbon footprint even more than before. 

Thus, sodium-ion batteries appear to be the best alternative to lithium-ion batteries while fulfilling the requirements of batteries for electric vehicles.

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