Energy, as the material basis of human civilization and progress, has always played an important role. It is an indispensable guarantee for the development of human society. Together with water, air, and food, it constitutes the necessary conditions for human survival and directly affects human life.
The development of the energy industry has undergone two major changes from the “epoch” of fuelwood to the “epoch” of coal, and then from the “epoch” of coal to the “epoch” of petroleum. At present, it has begun to shift from the “epoch” of petroleum to the renewable energy.
From the beginning of the 19th century with coal as the main source to the mid-twentieth century with oil as the main source, humans have used fossil energy on a large scale for more than 200 years. However, the global energy structure characterized by fossil energy makes it no longer far away from the exhaustion of fossil energy.
The three traditional economic carriers of fossil energy represented by coal, oil, and natural gas will be rapidly exhausted in the new century, and during the use and combustion process, they will also cause the greenhouse effect, produce a large number of pollutants, and pollute the environment. Therefore, it is imperative to reduce dependence on fossil energy, change the existing unreasonable energy use structure, and seek clean, pollution-free new renewable energy.
Big Wave of Energy Revolution
At present, renewable energy mainly includes wind energy, hydrogen energy, solar energy, bioenergy, tidal energy and geothermal energy, etc., and wind energy and solar energy are currently research hotspots worldwide. However, it is currently difficult to achieve efficient conversion and storage of various renewable energy sources, making it difficult to effectively use them. In this situation, in order to realize the effective use of new renewable energy by mankind, it is necessary to develop convenient and efficient new energy storage technology, which is also a hot spot of current social research- “Batteries”. Batteries are already an indispensable thing in our daily lives. They are inseparable from our lives as they are used from wireless headsets to cars.
The battery that has gone through more than 200 years has ushered in a “big wave” in the new round of energy revolution. In the 1990s, among many secondary batteries, lithium-ion batteries took the lead in seizing the opportunity to develop strongly.
At present, as one of the most efficient secondary batteries, lithium-ion batteries have been widely used in various electronic devices, transportation, aerospace and other fields. However, with the increase in energy utilization,lithium batteries ‘development prospects are pretty difficult due to small reserves and high prices of elements used in them.
Recently, Russian and German researchers discovered that sodium with a special structure can be used to replace rare and expensive lithium to make batteries. Sodium batteries manufactured using new technology are cheaper than lithium batteries commonly used today, but their capacity is not inferior. Currently, a multi-layer structure battery made of sodium and graphene is in the testing phase.
The good news is that sodium-ion batteries are no longer just a theoretical concept. The breakthrough of related technology seems to be imminent.
Multi-country research and development of sodium-ion batteries, Faradion UK began to commercialize
It is reported that scientific research teams in many countries have carried out relevant research on sodium-ion battery technology. Among them, British Company Faradion has announced the cooperation with Indian logistics company IPLTech On June 3, 2020.
The R&D team of Faradion based in London UK, successfully developed a sodium-ion battery containing hydrocarbon as organic matter whose main function is to fix sodium ions, which makes the sodium-ion battery more stable and have a longer service
The team said that they conducted 500 charge-discharge tests on the successfully developed sodium-ion battery prototype, and the battery capacity of the battery did not suffer any degradation. After 1000 cycles of charging and discharging, the specific capacity retention rate of Faradion sodium-ion batteries is as high as 80%.
Faradion said, “Sodium-ion battery technology provides performance similar to traditional chemistry, with cell energy density ranging from 150kWh/kg to 160kWh/kg, while replacing expensive materials such as cobalt and lithium with more abundant sodium. The difference between ion batteries is that these batteries have excellent thermal stability and safety.”
It can be seen that battery technology is constantly developing, and a situation where multiple technical routes coexist has been formed. Although the latest sodium-ion batteries have the problem of insufficient energy density, through the unremitting efforts of scientific researchers, sodium-ion batteries may achieve a balance between battery safety, price and service life, thereby promoting the development of vehicle electrification. In the foreseeable future, sodium ion batteries will be able to replace lithium batteries in electric vehicles, smart phones or notebook computers.