Will the chimera of a smartphone with a autonomy of one week become reality? The chemical properties of the lithium battery, the most widespread currently, is the biggest limitation that science faces. A challenge that some scientists at the University of Birmingham have planted face and, after different experiments, propose sodium as a magical element to increase the capacity of current batteries by 700%.
For years, we have witnessed a multitude of studies that aim to increase the density of lithium-ion batteries , as well as reduce the charging time of them. A great need given the widespread use of electronic devices and limitations inherent in the storage of electrical energy. In this sense, the search for new materials is incessant and sodium can be one of the solutions in the medium term, according to the latest report published by the University of Birmingham.
Batteries with up to 700% more charge
At the moment, it is not a commercial model, but a simulation in which it has been possible to find the formula to include in a stable way the sodium in the composition of the battery. However, the challenges that the scientists of the University of Birmingham have had to overcome have not been few, starting with the larger size of the sodium atoms compared to those of lithium.
For this purpose, it has been necessary to find another material for the anode of the battery , other than graphite . By qualities and atomic disposition, researchers have concluded that a phosphorus derivative can supply it with guarantees. In return, the use of sodium in the cathode favors, by its characteristics, that the battery can increase its load capacity by around 700% compared to the load that a lithium-ion battery of similar volume can offer.
Cheaper and more abundant
As we have already indicated, the model designed in the laboratory by the British is hopeful and could be placed in a few years as one of the great alternatives to lithium batteries.
And is that both sodium and phosphorus are two abundant and cheap elements, as opposed to lithium, which is placed as a limiting factor today. A direct consequence is the great increase in the demand for batteries due to the growing market of electronic products and, especially, the explosion of the incipient sector of hybrid and electric cars .
Therefore, passionate years ahead to check whether finally the sodium ion battery is imposed by characteristics and improvements compared to the performance and qualities of lithium. After all, the process of purification of lithium-ion batteries to be a commercial product has been derived in more than a decade.