Researchers identify alternative to lithium-based battery technology — ScienceDaily
Lithium-ion batteries are currently the preferred technology for powering electric vehicles, but they are too expensive for long-scale grid-based energy storage systems, and lithium itself is becoming increasingly difficult to power. ‘access.
While lithium has many advantages: high energy density and the ability to combine with renewable energy sources to support grid-level energy storage, lithium carbonate prices are at an all-time high. . Pandemic-related supply chain bottlenecks, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and rising corporate demand are all contributing to rising costs. In addition, many governments question the green light on lithium mines due to high environmental costs and the potential for human rights violations.
As governments and industries around the world look forward to finding energy storage options to drive the clean energy transition, new research conducted at the University of Houston and published in Communications of nature suggests solid-state battery technology and sodium sulfur at room temperature as a viable alternative to lithium-based battery technology for grid-level energy storage systems.
Yan Yao, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Cullen, and his colleagues developed a homogeneous glass electrolyte that allows reversible sodium coating and pickling with a higher current density than was possible before.
“The search for new solid electrolytes for fully solid sodium batteries must be both low-cost, easy to manufacture, and have incredible mechanical and chemical stability,” said Yao, who is also a principal investigator at the Texas Center for Superconductivity. the University of Houston. (TcSUH). “So far, no solid sodium electrolyte has been able to meet these four requirements at once.”
Researchers found a new form of oxisulfide glass electrolyte that has the potential to meet all of these requirements at once. A high-energy ball-milling process was used to create the electrolytes at room temperature.
“Oxisulfide glass has a different microstructure, resulting in a completely homogeneous glass structure,” said Ye Zhang, who works as an associate researcher at Yao’s group. “At the interface between metallic sodium and the electrolyte, the solid electrolyte forms a self-passivating interface that is essential for reversible coating and sodium removal.”
It has been shown that it is difficult to achieve a stable coating and stripping of sodium metal by means of a sulfur electrolyte.
“Our study reversed this perception by establishing not only the highest critical current density among all sulfur-based solid electrolytes that conduct Na ions, but also allowed sodium and sulfur batteries at high-performance ambient temperature.” Yao explained.
“The new structural and compositional design strategies presented in this paper provide a new paradigm in the development of safe, low-cost, energy-dense, long-life solid-state sodium batteries,” Zhang added.
In addition to Yao and Zhang, co-authors of the study include UH co-authors Xiaowei Chi and Fang Hao; and Steven Kmiec and co-author Steve Martin of Iowa State University. Rice University, Purdue University and UC Irvine are all collaborators on this project. This research was funded by the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E).
Materials provided by University of Houston. Original written by Karn Dhingra. Note: Content can be edited by style and length.