Despite the energy crisis, progress in electromobility is not keeping its feet still. There is always a search for new battery solutions. One of them is the sodium-ion battery. You can find the most important information about this in this guide.
Most electric cars are powered by lithium-ion batteries. Unfortunately, lithium is very expensive due to the very high demand worldwide. The element is relatively common, but only in small amounts. However, the situation is different with sodium. As one of the most commonly used salts on our planet, sodium is available in abundance. A feverish search is therefore being made for alternatives.
Sodium-ion battery: how it works
As in any rechargeable battery, the sodium ions are used to charge in the electrodes save. An electrode is a conductive point of contact with the electrolyte, which is the substance through which the ions carry the electronic current. Functionally, they differ little from lithium-ion batteries.
Work has been going on for some time on new sodium carbonate-based batteries, and the development of saltwater batteries keeps making great strides. A research team from the US Department of Energy recently managed to develop a battery with a considerable lifetime. Almost 50,000 cycles offers the latest formula and thus up to 25 times more than conventional lithium-ion batteries.
Are sodium-ion batteries unsuitable for electric cars?
So the question arises: Will electric cars in the future be powered by an element that can also be found in common salt? That’s not an easy question to answer. But it is assumed that at least it is unlikely in the near future is. The long life expectancy of the batteries just mentioned and the low cost point speak in favor of the Na-ion battery. A ton of lithium cost an absurd $78,000 at the end of April 2022 (source: teslamag.de)a ton of sodium is a bargain at 250 euros (source: winfuture.de). Furthermore, the batteries are thermally stable and non-flammable. In addition, they are more environmentally friendly and easier to handle – especially if the aqueous electrolyte is non-toxic.
the Disadvantages, however, disqualify the Na-ion batteries from use in electric cars. On the one hand, sodium is significantly heavier than lithium (the lightest metal on earth). Another big point of criticism is the low energy density. With 12 to 24 watt hours per liter, they store significantly fewer lithium batteries. This makes these batteries unsuitable for mobile use.
Sodium-ion batteries are therefore more suitable for areas of application, in which rather weak to medium-strong currents are used over a long period of time. Examples of this would be emergency power storage for servers or heavy industrial vehicles or as a buffer for wall boxes to prevent overloading of the power grid at peak times.