Due to their freely available chemistry and considerably lower pricing than their lithium-ion equivalents, sodium-ion batteries have emerged as true sustainability heroes. The challenge is finding the ideal formulation that will allow them to function and function properly in a range of temperatures.
a good lithium-ion battery substitute
According to a news statement issued by Skoltech on Monday, scientists from the two institutions have now created a sodium-ion battery material that may provide a practical substitute for lithium-ion batteries.
The novel substance is a sodium-vanadium phosphate fluoride powder with a unique crystal structure that, when employed as a battery cathode, offers a record-high energy storage capacity. The researchers claim that the new cathode material guarantees a 10 to 15% increase in battery energy density over the leading competitor.
“Our new material and the one that the industry has lately used are both known as sodium-vanadium phosphate fluoride and are constructed from the identical atoms of elements. The arrangement of those atoms and the ratio in which they are distributed throughout the complex are what distinguishes them, according to co-author of the study and Assistant Professor Stanislav Fedotov of Skoltech.
Better stability with the same battery capacity
It gives nearly the same battery capacity and more stability, which translates into longer life and improved cost-efficiency of the battery, according to Fedotov. “Our material also compares favorably with the class of layered materials for cathodes.” The practical performance of our materials outperforms even the theoretical forecasts for the rival materials, which is remarkable given that the theoretical potential is never fully realized.
The scientists are hopeful that with further research and development, their new batteries will be able to take the place of lithium-ion ones in heavy electric vehicles like buses and trucks, as well as in stationary energy storage at the wind and solar farms and other locations in a variety of climates.
“One benefit of this material is that it has a higher energy storage capability. Additionally, it allows the cathode to function at lower ambient temperatures, which is especially important for Russia, according to Fedotov.
Lead author of the paper and Skoltech research intern Semyon Shraer elaborated on how the team discovered the new and improved battery formulation, saying that “the battery community tends to proceed with the search for new materials either empirically — by trial and error — or with high-throughput studies that test vast arrays of materials. We take a different tack and advocate for logical solid-state chemical design. To create the material with the needed qualities, we must rely on hard science and the fundamental rules and principles of solid-state chemistry.
We arrived at the fundamental components of a material that might have a high energy storage capacity thanks to theoretical considerations, he added. The next step was to identify the crystal structure that would enable that potential. The one we settled on is the KTP-type framework, which is uncommon in the field of battery engineering and derives from nonlinear optics. We concluded that this particular molecule with that specific crystal structure should function after considerable consideration and theorizing. Then, using low-temperature ion exchange, we succeeded in synthesizing it. And there it is, its exceptional qualities having been verified through an experiment.