Battery Types 

Salt based batteries have been developed since the 1970s. The benefits of lithium batteries, namely higher energy density as a result of higher potential and lower mass, shifted the focus of the battery community away from sodium. 

There are two different types of salt-based batteries. One is the sodium ion battery. Its technology is very similar to the Lithium-ion battery. The other types are sodium–nickel chloride batteries, or sodium sulfur batteries. 

Sodium-Ion Batteries

Sodium-ion batteries use the same ion storage principle as lithium-ion batteries. The alkali ions act only as charge carriers while energy is reversibly stored and released in intercalation and/or conversion electrodes, as illustrated in the schematic below[1].

Schematic illustration of sodium-ion battery. The intensively studied materials are listed in the graph

Na-ion batteries consist of one positive and one negative electrode, the electrolyte, the separator, and the battery case. Upon charging a sodium-ion battery, sodium ions are extracted from the cathode material and, shuttling through the electrolyte, transferred into the anode material (hard carbon). The low price and unlimited availability of resources are advantages of this technology. Another advantage is the use of aluminum foil as anode current collector instead of the expensive copper foil necessary in lithium-ion batteries. 

Lower energy density of Na-ion batteries compared to their Li-ion counterparts suggest preferential use of the sodium ion batteries in stationary energy storage where latter is of less importance. Use in transportation would also be an option for short-range transportation of people and goods with light-duty vehicles.CATL announced its first-generation sodium-ion battery ready for mass production in mid-2021. The technology is able to integrate lithium-ion cells into one pack sodium ion battery. The first generation of sodium-ion batteries can be used in various transportation electrification scenarios, especially in regions with extremely low temperatures, where its advantages become obvious. Spread of technology will be helped by its flexibility to adapt to the application needs of all scenarios in the energy storage field. 

[1] Durmus, Yasin Emre & Zhang, Huang & Baakes, Florian & Desmaizieres, Gauthier & Hayun, Hagay & Yang, Liangtao & Kolek, Martin & Küpers, Verena & Janek, Jürgen & Mandler, Daniel & Passerini, Stefano & Ein-Eli, Yair. (2020). Side by Side Battery Technologies with Lithium‐Ion Based Batteries. Advanced Energy Materials.


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