Russia Partners Germany to Replace Lithium with Sodium in Batteries

Russia partners Germany to replace lithium (Li) with sodium (Na) in batteries, which would be much cheaper. An international team of scientists at the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys (MISIS) of the National University of Science and Technology (NUST). Russia's Academy of Science and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf has found that instead of Li, Na "stacked" in a special way can be used for battery production. Sodium batteries would be significantly cheaper and equivalently or even more capacious than existing Li batteries. The results of the study are published in the journal Nano Energy.

Li-ion battery is a kind of battery that people are very familiar with in daily life. It is widely used in portable electronic products such as smartphones and computers. It is also well used in electric vehicles and aerospace industries. But lithium is a very expensive metal, and its storage in nature is limited.

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The Na reserves are abundant and the price is low. For many years, researchers around the world have been committed to developing a battery with higher capacity and lower prices based on sodium materials to replace the current Li-ion batteries and Na batteries with high capacity. It has more commercial advantages than Li-ion batteries.

The Russia and Germany team found that if the atoms inside the sample are "stacked" in a certain way, then alkali metals other than lithium also demonstrate high energy intensity. The most promising replacement for Li is Na, since a two-layer arrangement of sodium atoms in the bigraphen sandwich demonstrates anode capacity comparable to the capacity of a conventional graphite anode in Li-ion batteries - about 335 mA*h/g against 372 mA*h/g for Li. However, Na is much more common than lithium, and therefore cheaper and more easily obtained.

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In today's battery industry, Li batteries are still the mainstream. But the biggest problem with lithium batteries is the limited storage of Li in nature. The chemical properties of Na and Li are similar, the reserves of sodium on the earth are very high. This advantage makes it stand out. However, the practical problem is that the unit mass of Na batteries has less energy storage than Li batteries. Therefore, researchers are working hard to improve Na battery energy storage.