Sodium Could Advance Battery Tech


Staff member
Mar 3, 2018
Lithium ion batteries have a significant problem: deposits of Lithium required to manufacture them are rare, and mostly found in South America. However, researchers think replacing Lithium with Sodium could make battery production more sustainable. Researchers have already mitigated sodium's unfortunate tendency to explode, but only recently have researchers begun to tackle the problem of sodium batteries degrading too quickly.

"Normally the solid electrolyte interface is good because it protects carbon particles from a battery's acidic electrolyte, where electricity is conducted," Pol said. "But too much of the interface consumes the sodium ions that we need for charging the battery." Purdue researchers proposed using sodium as a powder, which provides the required amount of sodium for the solid electrolyte interface to protect carbon, but doesn't build up in a way that it consumes sodium ions. They minimized sodium's exposure to the moisture that would make it combust by making the sodium powder in a glovebox filled with the gas argon. To make the powder, they used an ultrasound—the same tool used for monitoring the development a fetus—to melt sodium chunks into a milky purple liquid. The liquid then cooled into a powder, and was suspended in a hexane solution to evenly disperse the powder particles.
All good till the Halo element bath evaporates or leaks.
This tech, if it proves out, is at least a decade away. Maybe more. And even then, the only advantage over Lithium is resource availability.
You are correct. Lithium is very plentiful. The main problem is it always combined with other atoms so it needs to be extracted using chemical solvents which is the main problem. Also it's very dispersed so there's only a few places on earth where there's concentrated deposits's_crust

At number 33 there's more lithium than lead on earth

And it takes large swaths of land filled with water settling ponds, and enormous amounts of fresh water to purify.
Let's make batteries safer by putting an even more reactive metal in the battery. :)

What could possibly go wrong?

The interesting thing is that Plutonium actually makes an even better lead-acid type battery; but it causes problems if you build them too big... :)