• 4 minutes Why Trump will win the wall fight
  • 7 minutes Tension On The Edge: Pakistan Urges U.N. To Intervene Over Kashmir Tension With India
  • 12 minutes Maduro Asks OPEC For Help Against U.S. Sanctions
  • 16 minutes Washington Eyes Crackdown On OPEC
  • 5 hours Climate Change: A Summer of Storms and Smog Is Coming
  • 3 hours Itt looks like natural gas may be at its lowest price ever.
  • 5 hours America’s Shale Boom Keeps Rolling Even as Wildcatters Save Cash
  • 18 hours North Korea's Kim To Travel To Vietnam By Train, Summit At Government Guesthouse
  • 19 hours AI Will Eliminate Call Center Jobs
  • 19 hours Oil imports by countries
  • 23 hours NZ Oil, Gas Ban Could Cost $30 Bln
  • 8 hours US-backed coup in Venezuela not so smooth
  • 2 hours Amazon’s Exit Could Scare Off Tech Companies From New York
  • 1 day Solar and Wind Will Not "Save" the Climate
  • 1 day Ayn Rand Was Right
  • 1 day Indian Oil Signs First Annual Deal For U.S. OilIndian Oil Signs First Annual Deal For U.S. Oil
Alt Text

Russian Energy Minister: We Avoided $25 Oil With OPEC Deal

Russian Energy Minister Novak has…

Alt Text

How Long Will This Oil Rally Last?

Oil prices have been trading…

Alt Text

A Big Week For Oil Bulls

It’s been a great week…

Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

More Info

Trending Discussions

Could This Material Kill Lithium-Ion Batteries?

Sodium, an element far more abundant than lithium, is expanding its claim to fame in the battery field. A new study from a Japanese university has suggested that a sodium compound could relatively easily replace lithium in batteries.

The study, by researchers from the Nagoya Institute of Technology, found a way around the main obstacle for swapping lithium with sodium: the larger size of the ions in sodium and its different chemistry, Phys.org reports. They did this by finding a sodium compound that displayed a crystal structure that was compatible with battery use, along with a favorable electric structure and electrochemical properties. The compound yielded shorter charging times than lithium-ion batteries and a potentially longer battery life.

As great as this may sound, the researchers have run into a challenge: the compound, Na2V3O7, began deteriorating in the final stages of the charging process and that represented a cap on its theoretical energy storage capacity by as much as 50 percent. The research team, according to lead author Naoto Tanibata, will now focus on overcoming this obstacle.

Sodium batteries are not all in the laboratory stage of development, however. The allure of sodium—cheap, abundant, and has the right chemistry for batteries—has been growing and there are already functioning projects.

Last year, scientists from the Australian University of Wollongong announced they had solved a problem with sodium batteries that made them too expensive to produce, namely a lot of the other materials used in such an installation besides the sodium itself. Some of these materials were sensitive to air, which made it challenging to produce the batteries cheaply enough to make them commercially viable and guarantee a certain level of performance.

Related: Oil Prices Drop After Touching 2019 High

After the Wollongong researchers solved this problem by developing a material that was not sensitive to air, they launched a pilot sodium-ion battery project at a sewage pumping station in Sydney. The sodium batteries are yet to be delivered to the project, which also features solar panels for energy generation, so its performance has yet to be tested in real-life conditions.

However, according to researchers involved in sodium batteries, these would be best suited to stationary energy storage installations: sodium batteries tend to have a substantially lower energy density, which means they have yet to evolve enough to compete with lithium-ion batteries on size. In energy storage, however, they could make a real splash since size is not as important as it is for, say, car batteries or consumer electronics.

Even so, sodium batteries are turning into a hot area of research seeking to remove the main obstacles to larger sodium battery adoption. A team from the University of Birmingham last year joined the Australian and Japanese scientists in solving sodium battery problems, coming up with an alternative to the graphite anode that is used in lithium batteries, but is problematic for sodium batteries since the larger sodium ions cannot travel between graphite’s carbon layers. Replacing graphite with phosphorus, based on calculations by supercomputers, the University of Birmingham researchers succeeded in achieving charge carrier capacity seven times that of batteries featuring a graphite anode.

The implications of these accomplishments could be significant as the world gradually realizes it would need a lot of energy storage capacity built in the coming years as we shift towards more renewable-derived and less fossil fuel-derived power. Sodium batteries seem to have a legitimate claim to fame alongside lithium ion technology, and they could greatly boost energy storage capacity-building, which would in turn benefit greater renewable power adoption as this would solve the intermittency problem. 

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage

Trending Discussions


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News