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Upscaling sodium-ion batteries could prevent a critical minerals shortage

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Without running out of natural materials, researchers from Chalmers University of Technology have found that sodium-ion batteries have an equal impact on the climate as their lithium-ions counterparts.

Although batteries are being produced quickly, there is a shortage of lithium and cobalt, two essential parts of the most popular battery types, due to the increase in production. Because their materials are made of salt and biomass, sodium-ion batteries may be able to solve this issue.

According to Rickard Arvidsson, an associate professor of economic systems analysis at Chalmers,” the materials we use in the future batteries will be crucial to switch to alternative energy and a fossil-free vehicle fleet.”

The Journal of Industrial Ecology has published the new study.

The rising need for battery metals

The demand for important raw battery materials is anticipated to rise dramatically as EU nations switch to electric vehicles and renewable energy sources, according to the Critical Raw Materials Act of the European Commission.

Due to the scarcity of organic material sources, like production also carries a higher risk of supply disruptions.

According to Arvidsson, lithium-ion batteries are gaining popularity and are better for the environment than fossil-based technology is, particularly for transportation.

However, the deposits run the risk of being depleted over time because you ca n’t produce lithium-based batteries at the same rate as you want to produce electric cars.

Sodium-ion batteries might be a tempting substitute.

The second generation of green energy storage, which should ideally have a longer lifespan, high energy density, and be simple to produce, is being developed quickly thanks to the development of new battery technologies.

Alternatively of lithium, the researchers decided to focus on sodium-ion batteries, which contain sodium, a substance that is found in popular sodium chloride.

In their study, they evaluated the batteries ‘ overall environmental and material impact during the extraction and production of raw materials as part of a so-called life cycle assessment.

According to Arvidsson,” We came to the conclusion that sodium-ion batteries are significantly better than lithium-ions batteries in terms of impact on mineral resource scarcity and comparable to climate impact.”

According to the scenario you consider, the philosophical electricity storage capacity for this type of sodium-ion battery is between 60 and just over 100 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents per kilowatt hour, which is lower than originally reported.

The researchers also found a number of actions that could lessen the effects of the climate, such as creating an electrolyte that is more environmentally friendly because it makes up the majority of how the battery affects the environment.

Green energy necessitates effective energy storage.

The sodium-ion batteries of today are already anticipated to be used for stable energy storage in the electricity grid, and with further development, they may also be utilized in future electric vehicles.

Energy storage is a requirement for growing wind and solar power, according to Arvidsson. What will those batteries be made of given that batteries are used for the majority of storage? This development may be hampered by rising demand for lithium and cobalt.

The fact that the materials used in sodium-ion batteries are plentiful and accessible globally is the technology’s main benefit. The cathode, one of the electrodes in batteries, uses sodium ions as a charge carrier, and the various electrode, known as the anodes, is made of tough carbon, which can be made from biomass from the forest industry.

Arvidsson came to the conclusion that “batteries based on vast raw materials could reduce geopolitical risks and dependencies on certain regions for battery manufacturers and countries.”

Matthew Boyle

Matthew Boyle is a distinguished Smart City Consultant, renowned for his expertise in IoT (Internet of Things) and cutting-edge urban technology solutions. With a deep understanding of Smart City initiatives, Matthew excels in leveraging IoT innovations to transform urban landscapes into efficient, sustainable, and connected environments. His strategic insights and hands-on experience in urban planning, data analytics, and IoT implementation make him a trusted expert in the field. Matthew Boyle is your go-to consultant for navigating the complex world of Smart Cities, ensuring seamless integration of IoT technologies, and unlocking the potential of data-driven urban solutions. With his guidance, your city can thrive in the digital age, enhancing quality of life and fostering a sustainable future.

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