Lithium is replaced with sodium in a new prototype battery under development at Imperial College. Sodium is a more abundant metal than lithium and could raise fewer environmental concerns over extraction.The prototype also requires fewer heavy metals, which are also mining-intensive, the College said.
The prototype stores less power than a similar Li-ion battery but proved capable of multiple charging cycles. Lead researcher Dr Florian Glocklhofer said, “Our battery prototype did not lose any capacity when tested over 500 charge-discharge cycles, meaning it should not face this problem if developed into a commercial product.”
The team is now working to improve the electrode materials and raise their capacity, potentially bringing sodium-ion batteries to the market in the future.
The project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme