Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a degenerative effect in the creation of sodium-ion battery cathode materials that could have significant impacts on sodium-ion battery performance.
Battery-powered vehicles and battery energy storage systems at all scales primarily use lithium-ion chemistry, but high costs and issues with thermal events have prompted US labs to seek other safe alternatives. and inexpensive. One such alternative is the sodium-ion battery.
When cycled at a high voltage of around 4.5V, sodium-ion batteries can dramatically increase their energy density. However, the rapid degradation of charge-discharge cycles has prevented the commercialization of sodium-ion batteries.
Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have discovered an effect in the creation of the cathode material that could lead to improvements in battery resiliency. It has been found that during the process of rapid cooling during the creation of the cathode, a “structural earthquake” occurs, which disturbs the atomic composition of the material.
During rapid cooling in cathodic synthesis, the particle surface became rough and large areas showed stresses on the material. The effect was also seen when cycling the cathode at high temperatures above 130 F or when performing a 1 hour fast charge versus a 10 hour charge cycle.
With knowledge of this structure-damaging event, cathode manufacturers can now adjust synthesis conditions to create a purer cathode that is better able to couple the anode material. Previous research by the team has also led to a improved anodeand the team expects the pairing of the two to have dramatic effects.
“Now we should be able to pair our upgraded cathode with the anode to achieve a 20-40% increase in performance,” said Guiliang Xu, assistant chemist in the chemical science and engineering division of China. ‘Argonne. “As important, these batteries will maintain this performance with a long-term cycle at high voltage.”
The results were recently published in Communication Nature. The Argonne team said the results could translate to longer range and more affordable electric vehicles, as well as low-cost energy storage for the grid.
“Seeing is believing,” said scientist Yuzi Liu. “With Argonne’s world-class science facilities, we don’t have to guess what’s going on during synthesis.”
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