Sodium ion batteries could finally be ready for prime time

High energy density sodium ion batteries using Cobalt oxide plating are providing better performance than lithium ion batteries.

Sodium ion batteries (SIBs) have emerged as the most direct route to developing more cost effective and more sustainably produced metal-ion batteries due to their similarity in chemistry to Lithium ion batteries LIBs and the 1000× greater natural abundance of sodium in comparison to lithium.

A carbon nucleation layer to enable highly efficient and stable sodium plating and stripping as the basis for a new approach for sodium batteries: the anode-free sodium battery. The exceptional energy density of ∼400 Wh/kg and versatility of this approach that builds upon naturally abundant low-cost materials and aqueous processing is the first demonstration that sodium batteries have the promise of outperforming LIB technology and filling the desperately needed demand for a cost-effect, high-performance battery for grid-scale storage.

Electrochemical studies show this configuration to provide highly stable and efficient plating and stripping of sodium metal over a range of currents up to 5 mA/cm2, sodium loading up to 14 mAh/cm2, and with long-term endurance exceeding 1000 cycles at a current of 0.7 mA/cm2. Building upon this anode-free architecture, we demonstrate a full cell using a presodiated pyrite cathode to achieve energy densities of 400 Wh/kg, far surpassing recent reports on SIBs and even the theoretical maximum for LIB technology while still relying on naturally abundant raw materials and cost-effective aqueous processing.

141 thoughts on “Sodium ion batteries could finally be ready for prime time”

  1. I will celebrate when the first production modules come off the production lines. Too many new battery hype stories over the years.

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  2. This would be nice if it works out. Existing battery technology is still not very good. I would say the key is not only cheap materials and processing, which is very important. But also long life-time, meaning a very large number of charge-discharge cycles compared to existing batteries.

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  3. Home battery walls for charging cars, railroad car or container truck batteries for disaster areas and remote sites, all sorts of possibilities! Maybe cheaper electric cars, too. Hope they work good in cold weather…

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  4. I will celebrate when the first production modules come off the production lines. Too many new battery hype stories over the years.

    Reply
  5. This would be nice if it works out. Existing battery technology is still not very good. I would say the key is not only cheap materials and processing which is very important. But also long life-time meaning a very large number of charge-discharge cycles compared to existing batteries.

    Reply
  6. Home battery walls for charging cars railroad car or container truck batteries for disaster areas and remote sites all sorts of possibilities! Maybe cheaper electric cars too. Hope they work good in cold weather…

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  7. If this is as good as claimed then production should start in a year or two. This is the holy grail of battery technology. Assuming that the weight is light enough then installing in autos would reduce battery cost by at least 50%. Even if not light enough then backup/storage for the green technologies in homes and industrial scale will speed their adoption. Unless this is another false start story.

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  8. Well said, but now Lithium Ion is in full swing, Sodium Ion will be considered only after Lithium price will become unsustainable. It is worth noting that Sodium Ion, unlike Lithium Ion, is not flammable. It will eventually happen, meanwhile due to the similarity in the chemistry, advances in what type will lead to an advance in the other.

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  9. If this is as good as claimed then production should start in a year or two. This is the holy grail of battery technology. Assuming that the weight is light enough then installing in autos would reduce battery cost by at least 50{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12}. Even if not light enough then backup/storage for the green technologies in homes and industrial scale will speed their adoption. Unless this is another false start story.

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  10. Well said but now Lithium Ion is in full swing Sodium Ion will be considered only after Lithium price will become unsustainable. It is worth noting that Sodium Ion unlike Lithium Ion is not flammable. It will eventually happen meanwhile due to the similarity in the chemistry advances in what type will lead to an advance in the other.

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  11. Even if it is as good as claimed, getting something from the lab to production in only two years is a huge ask. Productionizing new tech is slow.

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  12. I’m looking at an image that contains the words “sodium metal”. So that’s going to be flammable unless you’re claiming the diagram is wrongly labelled. Also, the Li-Ion price is already unsustainable for many applications, so we don’t have to wait.

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  13. Even if it is as good as claimed getting something from the lab to production in only two years is a huge ask. Productionizing new tech is slow.

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  14. I’m looking at an image that contains the words sodium metal””. So that’s going to be flammable unless you’re claiming the diagram is wrongly labelled. Also”” the Li-Ion price is already unsustainable for many applications”” so we don’t have to wait.”””

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  15. When I search for “sodium metal” on google images, there are a bunch of pictures of it being cut with a knife out in the open, and it doesn’t seem to burst into flames. Wikipedia says it’s more reactive than lithium, but I guess it quickly forms a stable passivation layer? It does react violently with water though, so I don’t know how they’re claiming in-situ sodium plating *and* aqueous processing. Unless “processing” (whatever they mean by that) is aqueous, but the electrolyte isn’t? Another thing that stood out to me is this still requires cobalt, according to the 1st sentence. But then it’s not mentioned at all in the rest of the article.

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  16. With 1000 cycles life it may only be good for solar grid storage – with a single cycle per day that will last for 3 years. In a car that would last only months.

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  17. How often do you fill up your car?! If it’s once a week (normal?) that’s more like 19 years. If you’re doing enough miles to fill up every day you’ll probably only keep a car for 3 years anyway.

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  18. When I search for sodium metal”” on google images”” there are a bunch of pictures of it being cut with a knife out in the open and it doesn’t seem to burst into flames. Wikipedia says it’s more reactive than lithium but I guess it quickly forms a stable passivation layer?It does react violently with water though”” so I don’t know how they’re claiming in-situ sodium plating *and* aqueous processing. Unless “”””processing”””” (whatever they mean by that) is aqueous”” but the electrolyte isn’t?Another thing that stood out to me is this still requires cobalt”” according to the 1st sentence. But then it’s not mentioned at all in the rest of the article.”””

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  19. With 1000 cycles life it may only be good for solar grid storage – with a single cycle per day that will last for 3 years. In a car that would last only months.

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  20. Michael K – Sodium is just straight up more reactive than lithium and does not produce a stronger passivation layer (it produces a layer of sodium oxide / hydroxide depending on humidity; basically drain-cleaner, a very water soluble salt, as does lithium). Lithium metal is much less reactive and usually doesn’t catch fire if you put it in water. If it’s the right shape and size it can; but I have never seen it explode. Sodium however easily ignites and explodes in water. It reacts so violently that it first melts, then starts burning, then the reaction becomes so fast that an electrical potential is maintained, driving the sodium appart into a spiky “head hog” shape due to coulomb repulsion in a fraction of a millisecond. This explosion is followed by burning hydrogen and spatters of burning sodium. Potassium is even worse and tends to react so quickly that it cannot be submerged in water. My chemistry teacher back in the day tried to demonstrate that a small piece of potassium generates hydrogen in contact with water by quickly pushing it under water and into a small upside down waterfilled test-tube. The test tube ended up stuck in the ceiling foam tiles.

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  21. How often do you fill up your car?! If it’s once a week (normal?) that’s more like 19 years. If you’re doing enough miles to fill up every day, you’ll probably only keep a car for 3 years anyway.

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  22. Michael K – Sodium is just straight up more reactive than lithium and does not produce a stronger passivation layer (it produces a layer of sodium oxide / hydroxide depending on humidity; basically drain-cleaner a very water soluble salt as does lithium).Lithium metal is much less reactive and usually doesn’t catch fire if you put it in water. If it’s the right shape and size it can; but I have never seen it explode.Sodium however easily ignites and explodes in water. It reacts so violently that it first melts then starts burning then the reaction becomes so fast that an electrical potential is maintained driving the sodium appart into a spiky head hog”” shape due to coulomb repulsion in a fraction of a millisecond. This explosion is followed by burning hydrogen and spatters of burning sodium.Potassium is even worse and tends to react so quickly that it cannot be submerged in water. My chemistry teacher back in the day tried to demonstrate that a small piece of potassium generates hydrogen in contact with water by quickly pushing it under water and into a small upside down waterfilled test-tube. The test tube ended up stuck in the ceiling foam tiles.”””

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  23. What about Lithium Air batts? NBF reported on how they will be soon in commercial production. Twice the charge capacity and no chance of spontaneously combusting. Those would be good for vehicles and cell phones while the Sodium Ion ones for utility power storage, I would think.

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  24. What about Lithium Air batts? NBF reported on how they will be soon in commercial production. Twice the charge capacity and no chance of spontaneously combusting. Those would be good for vehicles and cell phones while the Sodium Ion ones for utility power storage I would think.

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  25. The oxide/hydroxide layer can act as a passivation layer depending on its structure and chemistry. Compare aluminum oxide, which acts as a passivation layer on aluminum, vs iron oxide which doesn’t. The aluminum forms only a few nanometers worth of this passivation layer; the iron rusts all the way through. Though I wouldn’t expect such a difference between sodium and lithium. But that’s in air. The behavior in water of course depends on solubility. Since NaOH is highly soluble, and the oxide probably converts to the hydroxide upon contact with water, the passivation layer gets dissolved away. The reason I was questioning lithium’s passivation in air, is from the stories of Li-ion batteries catching fire when punctured. I think I even saw a video of that once. Yet sodium is cut with a knife, and shows no signs of igniting. But I guess the puncturing of a battery may produce other effects besides just exposing lithium metal to air. Like maybe creating a short circuit.

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  26. When you puncture a lithium ion battery in that way you are shorting it. To get a high power density you need a large surface area an intimate mixture of fuel and oxidizer. The perfect battery is a bomb if anything goes even slightly wrong. Making a energy density high power density battery that’s not dangerous is difficult.

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  27. The oxide/hydroxide layer can act as a passivation layer depending on its structure and chemistry. Compare aluminum oxide which acts as a passivation layer on aluminum vs iron oxide which doesn’t. The aluminum forms only a few nanometers worth of this passivation layer; the iron rusts all the way through. Though I wouldn’t expect such a difference between sodium and lithium.But that’s in air. The behavior in water of course depends on solubility. Since NaOH is highly soluble and the oxide probably converts to the hydroxide upon contact with water the passivation layer gets dissolved away.The reason I was questioning lithium’s passivation in air is from the stories of Li-ion batteries catching fire when punctured. I think I even saw a video of that once. Yet sodium is cut with a knife and shows no signs of igniting. But I guess the puncturing of a battery may produce other effects besides just exposing lithium metal to air. Like maybe creating a short circuit.

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  28. When you puncture a lithium ion battery in that way you are shorting it. To get a high power density you need a large surface area, an intimate mixture of fuel and oxidizer. The perfect battery is a bomb if anything goes even slightly wrong. Making a energy density, high power density battery that’s not dangerous is difficult.

    Reply
  29. Warren, why does every post you make have to be a nasty dig against Liberals? Even if the post has nothing to do with politics. Do you think it gives you some kind of conservative version of street cred? Or maybe you just think it’s funny. Do people out there think it’s funny???

    Reply
  30. I guess that would in reality depend on the size of the battery. For PHEVs it’s common to draw down daily to the effective depletion point but the opposite is true for EVs with a 200+ mile range.

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  31. Warren why does every post you make have to be a nasty dig against Liberals? Even if the post has nothing to do with politics. Do you think it gives you some kind of conservative version of street cred? Or maybe you just think it’s funny. Do people out there think it’s funny???

    Reply
  32. I guess that would in reality depend on the size of the battery. For PHEVs it’s common to draw down daily to the effective depletion point but the opposite is true for EVs with a 200+ mile range.

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  33. The perfect battery is a bomb if anything goes even slightly wrong” Not at all. Energy density is not correlated to reactivity. Chemical explosives have much lower energy density than common fuels. For example coal has a much greater energy density than TNT, yet it tends not to explode.

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  34. Cobalt won’t help it becoming cost efficient. “Building upon this anode-free architecture” Wow. They actually wrote this? There’s no battery without an anode… Such BS.

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  35. The perfect battery is a bomb if anything goes even slightly wrong””Not at all. Energy density is not correlated to reactivity. Chemical explosives have much lower energy density than common fuels. For example coal has a much greater energy density than TNT”””” yet it tends not to explode.”””

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  36. Cobalt won’t help it becoming cost efficient.Building upon this anode-free architecture””Wow. They actually wrote this? There’s no battery without an anode… Such BS.”””

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  37. Warren, why does every post you make have to be a nasty dig against Liberals?” Uh…why are you making declarative statements that are untrue? There’s at another post on this topic that doesn’t talk about Libtards nor even obliquely reference them at all. So not EVERY post is about libtards. Do you think it gives you some street cred to be incorrect on this matter? Or maybe you just think it is funny? Doubtful. But why do you choose NOW to bring this up, Gary? You’ve been on NBF for some time now, right? Years even, like myself?

    Reply
  38. Warren” why does every post you make have to be a nasty dig against Liberals?””Uh…why are you making declarative statements that are untrue? There’s at another post on this topic that doesn’t talk about Libtards nor even obliquely reference them at all. So not EVERY post is about libtards.Do you think it gives you some street cred to be incorrect on this matter? Or maybe you just think it is funny? Doubtful. But why do you choose NOW to bring this up”” Gary? You’ve been on NBF for some time now right? Years even”” like myself?”””

    Reply
  39. Current BEVs generally do at least 5 km/kWh. So a 40 kWh battery times 5 km times times 1000 cycles will last for 200,000 km. An 80 kWh battery will last for 400,000 km. So for electric cars, I’d say 1000 cycles is generally good enough. I’d say grid storage has tougher requirements on battery life.

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  40. Current BEVs generally do at least 5 km/kWh. So a 40 kWh battery times 5 km times times 1000 cycles will last for 200000 km. An 80 kWh battery will last for 400000 km. So for electric cars I’d say 1000 cycles is generally good enough.I’d say grid storage has tougher requirements on battery life.

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  41. Coal tends not to explode because it doesn’t have the required chemicals to react. A lump of coal can’t react. It needs oxygen to react with. If you mix the coal with oxygen, such as a dust cloud in the air. Or powdered coal soaked in liquid oxygen. Then yes, it totally can explode. Do a search on youtube for charcoal soaked in liquid oxygen. Lots of “hold my beer” fun. Now let’s look at a battery. The point with most current designs is that all the required chemicals are right there squashed together only mm apart. Which is why a battery that develops an internal short or something can quickly run away, overheat, and accelerate into something that looks very much like an explosion. It isn’t a lithium peculiarity. A good old fashioned lead battery will do the same thing. But because the energy density is lower and the battery is much heavier the amount of heat generated will find it much harder to rapidly heat it up to explosion point. Not unknown though. One big advantage (there are others) of the various air battery designs (aluminium air, zinc air, lithium air) is that one of the reactive chemicals is the oxygen in the air. And the battery only pumps in enough air to give the desired energy output. So you don’t have all this unreacted mixture sitting around waiting to be accidentally set off in an uncontrolled way. Note that this is also an advantage of internal combustion engines. They have all this fluid fuel, but it’s in a tank and not mixed with oxygen until you actually want it to burn. To have a run away reaction you need to break the tank open and have the fuel mix with air out of control. This can happen (watch any Hollywood movie) but it really rare in real life.

    Reply
  42. Coal tends not to explode because it doesn’t have the required chemicals to react. A lump of coal can’t react. It needs oxygen to react with.If you mix the coal with oxygen such as a dust cloud in the air. Or powdered coal soaked in liquid oxygen. Then yes it totally can explode. Do a search on youtube for charcoal soaked in liquid oxygen. Lots of hold my beer”” fun.Now let’s look at a battery. The point with most current designs is that all the required chemicals are right there squashed together only mm apart. Which is why a battery that develops an internal short or something can quickly run away”” overheat and accelerate into something that looks very much like an explosion. It isn’t a lithium peculiarity. A good old fashioned lead battery will do the same thing. But because the energy density is lower and the battery is much heavier the amount of heat generated will find it much harder to rapidly heat it up to explosion point. Not unknown though.One big advantage (there are others) of the various air battery designs (aluminium air zinc air lithium air) is that one of the reactive chemicals is the oxygen in the air. And the battery only pumps in enough air to give the desired energy output. So you don’t have all this unreacted mixture sitting around waiting to be accidentally set off in an uncontrolled way.Note that this is also an advantage of internal combustion engines. They have all this fluid fuel”” but it’s in a tank and not mixed with oxygen until you actually want it to burn. To have a run away reaction you need to break the tank open and have the fuel mix with air out of control. This can happen (watch any Hollywood movie) but it really rare in real life.”””

    Reply
  43. While it’s interesting that powders explode it has little relevance. Powders have orders of a magnitude larger surface area than bulk materials thousands, maybe millions. In a battery the anode and the cathode is separate (by no means a mixture), even if the battery is punctured through the contact surface will be tiny fraction of even the whole bulk’s surface. So the material’s reactivity is what matters. The only problematic batteries are the ones with flammable electrolytes, which may catch fire when punctured. Check out the Oxis video of the title “Lithium Sulfur Cell Nail Test vs Li-ion” on youtube. Their LiS cell has higher energy density than plain Li-ion.

    Reply
  44. While it’s interesting that powders explode it has little relevance.Powders have orders of a magnitude larger surface area than bulk materials thousands maybe millions. In a battery the anode and the cathode is separate (by no means a mixture) even if the battery is punctured through the contact surface will be tiny fraction of even the whole bulk’s surface.So the material’s reactivity is what matters. The only problematic batteries are the ones with flammable electrolytes which may catch fire when punctured. Check out the Oxis video of the title Lithium Sulfur Cell Nail Test vs Li-ion”” on youtube. Their LiS cell has higher energy density than plain Li-ion.”””

    Reply
  45. Oh absolutely. You deliberately left out power density. Energy density comes into it because you have to remove safety barriers, inert stuff and bulk to increase it. Power density requires intimate contact between fuel and oxidizer. Coal has really sucky power density but mill it with an oxidizer and it goes *fwoosh* in a flash. You can’t have high power density and high energy density without making something that looks a lot like a bomb. You can have either separately.

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  46. Oh absolutely. You deliberately left out power density. Energy density comes into it because you have to remove safety barriers inert stuff and bulk to increase it. Power density requires intimate contact between fuel and oxidizer. Coal has really sucky power density but mill it with an oxidizer and it goes *fwoosh* in a flash. You can’t have high power density and high energy density without making something that looks a lot like a bomb.You can have either separately.”

    Reply
  47. You can’t have high power density and high energy density without making something that looks a lot like a bomb. ” Forgive me if I don’t take this nonsense for granted. For one LiS batteries have similar power density. In the case of batteries improving power density is just a matter of using separators/electrolytes with better ionic conductivity.

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  48. You can’t have high power density and high energy density without making something that looks a lot like a bomb. “”Forgive me if I don’t take this nonsense for granted. For one LiS batteries have similar power density.In the case of batteries improving power density is just a matter of using separators/electrolytes with better ionic conductivity.”””””””

    Reply
  49. You can’t have high power density and high energy density without making something that looks a lot like a bomb. ” Forgive me if I don’t take this nonsense for granted. For one LiS batteries have similar power density. In the case of batteries improving power density is just a matter of using separators/electrolytes with better ionic conductivity.

    Reply
  50. You can’t have high power density and high energy density without making something that looks a lot like a bomb. “”Forgive me if I don’t take this nonsense for granted. For one LiS batteries have similar power density.In the case of batteries improving power density is just a matter of using separators/electrolytes with better ionic conductivity.”””””””

    Reply
  51. Oh absolutely. You deliberately left out power density. Energy density comes into it because you have to remove safety barriers, inert stuff and bulk to increase it. Power density requires intimate contact between fuel and oxidizer. Coal has really sucky power density but mill it with an oxidizer and it goes *fwoosh* in a flash. You can’t have high power density and high energy density without making something that looks a lot like a bomb. You can have either separately.

    Reply
  52. Oh absolutely. You deliberately left out power density. Energy density comes into it because you have to remove safety barriers inert stuff and bulk to increase it. Power density requires intimate contact between fuel and oxidizer. Coal has really sucky power density but mill it with an oxidizer and it goes *fwoosh* in a flash. You can’t have high power density and high energy density without making something that looks a lot like a bomb.You can have either separately.”

    Reply
  53. “You can’t have high power density and high energy density without making something that looks a lot like a bomb. ”

    Forgive me if I don’t take this nonsense for granted. For one LiS batteries have similar power density.
    In the case of batteries improving power density is just a matter of using separators/electrolytes with better ionic conductivity.

    Reply
  54. While it’s interesting that powders explode it has little relevance. Powders have orders of a magnitude larger surface area than bulk materials thousands, maybe millions. In a battery the anode and the cathode is separate (by no means a mixture), even if the battery is punctured through the contact surface will be tiny fraction of even the whole bulk’s surface. So the material’s reactivity is what matters. The only problematic batteries are the ones with flammable electrolytes, which may catch fire when punctured. Check out the Oxis video of the title “Lithium Sulfur Cell Nail Test vs Li-ion” on youtube. Their LiS cell has higher energy density than plain Li-ion.

    Reply
  55. While it’s interesting that powders explode it has little relevance.Powders have orders of a magnitude larger surface area than bulk materials thousands maybe millions. In a battery the anode and the cathode is separate (by no means a mixture) even if the battery is punctured through the contact surface will be tiny fraction of even the whole bulk’s surface.So the material’s reactivity is what matters. The only problematic batteries are the ones with flammable electrolytes which may catch fire when punctured. Check out the Oxis video of the title Lithium Sulfur Cell Nail Test vs Li-ion”” on youtube. Their LiS cell has higher energy density than plain Li-ion.”””

    Reply
  56. Oh absolutely. You deliberately left out power density. Energy density comes into it because you have to remove safety barriers, inert stuff and bulk to increase it. Power density requires intimate contact between fuel and oxidizer. Coal has really sucky power density but mill it with an oxidizer and it goes *fwoosh* in a flash. You can’t have high power density and high energy density without making something that looks a lot like a bomb.

    You can have either separately.

    Reply
  57. While it’s interesting that powders explode it has little relevance.

    Powders have orders of a magnitude larger surface area than bulk materials thousands, maybe millions. In a battery the anode and the cathode is separate (by no means a mixture), even if the battery is punctured through the contact surface will be tiny fraction of even the whole bulk’s surface.
    So the material’s reactivity is what matters. The only problematic batteries are the ones with flammable electrolytes, which may catch fire when punctured. Check out the Oxis video of the title “Lithium Sulfur Cell Nail Test vs Li-ion” on youtube. Their LiS cell has higher energy density than plain Li-ion.

    Reply
  58. Coal tends not to explode because it doesn’t have the required chemicals to react. A lump of coal can’t react. It needs oxygen to react with. If you mix the coal with oxygen, such as a dust cloud in the air. Or powdered coal soaked in liquid oxygen. Then yes, it totally can explode. Do a search on youtube for charcoal soaked in liquid oxygen. Lots of “hold my beer” fun. Now let’s look at a battery. The point with most current designs is that all the required chemicals are right there squashed together only mm apart. Which is why a battery that develops an internal short or something can quickly run away, overheat, and accelerate into something that looks very much like an explosion. It isn’t a lithium peculiarity. A good old fashioned lead battery will do the same thing. But because the energy density is lower and the battery is much heavier the amount of heat generated will find it much harder to rapidly heat it up to explosion point. Not unknown though. One big advantage (there are others) of the various air battery designs (aluminium air, zinc air, lithium air) is that one of the reactive chemicals is the oxygen in the air. And the battery only pumps in enough air to give the desired energy output. So you don’t have all this unreacted mixture sitting around waiting to be accidentally set off in an uncontrolled way. Note that this is also an advantage of internal combustion engines. They have all this fluid fuel, but it’s in a tank and not mixed with oxygen until you actually want it to burn. To have a run away reaction you need to break the tank open and have the fuel mix with air out of control. This can happen (watch any Hollywood movie) but it really rare in real life.

    Reply
  59. Coal tends not to explode because it doesn’t have the required chemicals to react. A lump of coal can’t react. It needs oxygen to react with.If you mix the coal with oxygen such as a dust cloud in the air. Or powdered coal soaked in liquid oxygen. Then yes it totally can explode. Do a search on youtube for charcoal soaked in liquid oxygen. Lots of hold my beer”” fun.Now let’s look at a battery. The point with most current designs is that all the required chemicals are right there squashed together only mm apart. Which is why a battery that develops an internal short or something can quickly run away”” overheat and accelerate into something that looks very much like an explosion. It isn’t a lithium peculiarity. A good old fashioned lead battery will do the same thing. But because the energy density is lower and the battery is much heavier the amount of heat generated will find it much harder to rapidly heat it up to explosion point. Not unknown though.One big advantage (there are others) of the various air battery designs (aluminium air zinc air lithium air) is that one of the reactive chemicals is the oxygen in the air. And the battery only pumps in enough air to give the desired energy output. So you don’t have all this unreacted mixture sitting around waiting to be accidentally set off in an uncontrolled way.Note that this is also an advantage of internal combustion engines. They have all this fluid fuel”” but it’s in a tank and not mixed with oxygen until you actually want it to burn. To have a run away reaction you need to break the tank open and have the fuel mix with air out of control. This can happen (watch any Hollywood movie) but it really rare in real life.”””

    Reply
  60. Coal tends not to explode because it doesn’t have the required chemicals to react. A lump of coal can’t react. It needs oxygen to react with.
    If you mix the coal with oxygen, such as a dust cloud in the air. Or powdered coal soaked in liquid oxygen. Then yes, it totally can explode.

    Do a search on youtube for charcoal soaked in liquid oxygen. Lots of “hold my beer” fun.

    Now let’s look at a battery. The point with most current designs is that all the required chemicals are right there squashed together only mm apart. Which is why a battery that develops an internal short or something can quickly run away, overheat, and accelerate into something that looks very much like an explosion.

    It isn’t a lithium peculiarity. A good old fashioned lead battery will do the same thing. But because the energy density is lower and the battery is much heavier the amount of heat generated will find it much harder to rapidly heat it up to explosion point. Not unknown though.

    One big advantage (there are others) of the various air battery designs (aluminium air, zinc air, lithium air) is that one of the reactive chemicals is the oxygen in the air. And the battery only pumps in enough air to give the desired energy output. So you don’t have all this unreacted mixture sitting around waiting to be accidentally set off in an uncontrolled way.

    Note that this is also an advantage of internal combustion engines. They have all this fluid fuel, but it’s in a tank and not mixed with oxygen until you actually want it to burn. To have a run away reaction you need to break the tank open and have the fuel mix with air out of control. This can happen (watch any Hollywood movie) but it really rare in real life.

    Reply
  61. Current BEVs generally do at least 5 km/kWh. So a 40 kWh battery times 5 km times times 1000 cycles will last for 200,000 km. An 80 kWh battery will last for 400,000 km. So for electric cars, I’d say 1000 cycles is generally good enough. I’d say grid storage has tougher requirements on battery life.

    Reply
  62. Current BEVs generally do at least 5 km/kWh. So a 40 kWh battery times 5 km times times 1000 cycles will last for 200000 km. An 80 kWh battery will last for 400000 km. So for electric cars I’d say 1000 cycles is generally good enough.I’d say grid storage has tougher requirements on battery life.

    Reply
  63. Warren, why does every post you make have to be a nasty dig against Liberals?” Uh…why are you making declarative statements that are untrue? There’s at another post on this topic that doesn’t talk about Libtards nor even obliquely reference them at all. So not EVERY post is about libtards. Do you think it gives you some street cred to be incorrect on this matter? Or maybe you just think it is funny? Doubtful. But why do you choose NOW to bring this up, Gary? You’ve been on NBF for some time now, right? Years even, like myself?

    Reply
  64. Warren” why does every post you make have to be a nasty dig against Liberals?””Uh…why are you making declarative statements that are untrue? There’s at another post on this topic that doesn’t talk about Libtards nor even obliquely reference them at all. So not EVERY post is about libtards.Do you think it gives you some street cred to be incorrect on this matter? Or maybe you just think it is funny? Doubtful. But why do you choose NOW to bring this up”” Gary? You’ve been on NBF for some time now right? Years even”” like myself?”””

    Reply
  65. The perfect battery is a bomb if anything goes even slightly wrong” Not at all. Energy density is not correlated to reactivity. Chemical explosives have much lower energy density than common fuels. For example coal has a much greater energy density than TNT, yet it tends not to explode.

    Reply
  66. The perfect battery is a bomb if anything goes even slightly wrong””Not at all. Energy density is not correlated to reactivity. Chemical explosives have much lower energy density than common fuels. For example coal has a much greater energy density than TNT”””” yet it tends not to explode.”””

    Reply
  67. Cobalt won’t help it becoming cost efficient. “Building upon this anode-free architecture” Wow. They actually wrote this? There’s no battery without an anode… Such BS.

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  68. Cobalt won’t help it becoming cost efficient.Building upon this anode-free architecture””Wow. They actually wrote this? There’s no battery without an anode… Such BS.”””

    Reply
  69. Current BEVs generally do at least 5 km/kWh. So a 40 kWh battery times 5 km times times 1000 cycles will last for 200,000 km. An 80 kWh battery will last for 400,000 km. So for electric cars, I’d say 1000 cycles is generally good enough.

    I’d say grid storage has tougher requirements on battery life.

    Reply
  70. “Warren, why does every post you make have to be a nasty dig against Liberals?”

    Uh…why are you making declarative statements that are untrue? There’s at another post on this topic that doesn’t talk about Libtards nor even obliquely reference them at all.

    So not EVERY post is about libtards.

    Do you think it gives you some street cred to be incorrect on this matter? Or maybe you just think it is funny? Doubtful.

    But why do you choose NOW to bring this up, Gary? You’ve been on NBF for some time now, right? Years even, like myself?

    Reply
  71. Warren, why does every post you make have to be a nasty dig against Liberals? Even if the post has nothing to do with politics. Do you think it gives you some kind of conservative version of street cred? Or maybe you just think it’s funny. Do people out there think it’s funny???

    Reply
  72. Warren why does every post you make have to be a nasty dig against Liberals? Even if the post has nothing to do with politics. Do you think it gives you some kind of conservative version of street cred? Or maybe you just think it’s funny. Do people out there think it’s funny???

    Reply
  73. I guess that would in reality depend on the size of the battery. For PHEVs it’s common to draw down daily to the effective depletion point but the opposite is true for EVs with a 200+ mile range.

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  74. I guess that would in reality depend on the size of the battery. For PHEVs it’s common to draw down daily to the effective depletion point but the opposite is true for EVs with a 200+ mile range.

    Reply
  75. When you puncture a lithium ion battery in that way you are shorting it. To get a high power density you need a large surface area, an intimate mixture of fuel and oxidizer. The perfect battery is a bomb if anything goes even slightly wrong. Making a energy density, high power density battery that’s not dangerous is difficult.

    Reply
  76. When you puncture a lithium ion battery in that way you are shorting it. To get a high power density you need a large surface area an intimate mixture of fuel and oxidizer. The perfect battery is a bomb if anything goes even slightly wrong. Making a energy density high power density battery that’s not dangerous is difficult.

    Reply
  77. “The perfect battery is a bomb if anything goes even slightly wrong”

    Not at all. Energy density is not correlated to reactivity. Chemical explosives have much lower energy density than common fuels. For example coal has a much greater energy density than TNT, yet it tends not to explode.

    Reply
  78. Cobalt won’t help it becoming cost efficient.

    “Building upon this anode-free architecture”
    Wow. They actually wrote this? There’s no battery without an anode… Such BS.

    Reply
  79. The oxide/hydroxide layer can act as a passivation layer depending on its structure and chemistry. Compare aluminum oxide, which acts as a passivation layer on aluminum, vs iron oxide which doesn’t. The aluminum forms only a few nanometers worth of this passivation layer; the iron rusts all the way through. Though I wouldn’t expect such a difference between sodium and lithium. But that’s in air. The behavior in water of course depends on solubility. Since NaOH is highly soluble, and the oxide probably converts to the hydroxide upon contact with water, the passivation layer gets dissolved away. The reason I was questioning lithium’s passivation in air, is from the stories of Li-ion batteries catching fire when punctured. I think I even saw a video of that once. Yet sodium is cut with a knife, and shows no signs of igniting. But I guess the puncturing of a battery may produce other effects besides just exposing lithium metal to air. Like maybe creating a short circuit.

    Reply
  80. The oxide/hydroxide layer can act as a passivation layer depending on its structure and chemistry. Compare aluminum oxide which acts as a passivation layer on aluminum vs iron oxide which doesn’t. The aluminum forms only a few nanometers worth of this passivation layer; the iron rusts all the way through. Though I wouldn’t expect such a difference between sodium and lithium.But that’s in air. The behavior in water of course depends on solubility. Since NaOH is highly soluble and the oxide probably converts to the hydroxide upon contact with water the passivation layer gets dissolved away.The reason I was questioning lithium’s passivation in air is from the stories of Li-ion batteries catching fire when punctured. I think I even saw a video of that once. Yet sodium is cut with a knife and shows no signs of igniting. But I guess the puncturing of a battery may produce other effects besides just exposing lithium metal to air. Like maybe creating a short circuit.

    Reply
  81. What about Lithium Air batts? NBF reported on how they will be soon in commercial production. Twice the charge capacity and no chance of spontaneously combusting. Those would be good for vehicles and cell phones while the Sodium Ion ones for utility power storage, I would think.

    Reply
  82. What about Lithium Air batts? NBF reported on how they will be soon in commercial production. Twice the charge capacity and no chance of spontaneously combusting. Those would be good for vehicles and cell phones while the Sodium Ion ones for utility power storage I would think.

    Reply
  83. Warren, why does every post you make have to be a nasty dig against Liberals? Even if the post has nothing to do with politics. Do you think it gives you some kind of conservative version of street cred? Or maybe you just think it’s funny. Do people out there think it’s funny???

    Reply
  84. I guess that would in reality depend on the size of the battery. For PHEVs it’s common to draw down daily to the effective depletion point but the opposite is true for EVs with a 200+ mile range.

    Reply
  85. Michael K – Sodium is just straight up more reactive than lithium and does not produce a stronger passivation layer (it produces a layer of sodium oxide / hydroxide depending on humidity; basically drain-cleaner, a very water soluble salt, as does lithium). Lithium metal is much less reactive and usually doesn’t catch fire if you put it in water. If it’s the right shape and size it can; but I have never seen it explode. Sodium however easily ignites and explodes in water. It reacts so violently that it first melts, then starts burning, then the reaction becomes so fast that an electrical potential is maintained, driving the sodium appart into a spiky “head hog” shape due to coulomb repulsion in a fraction of a millisecond. This explosion is followed by burning hydrogen and spatters of burning sodium. Potassium is even worse and tends to react so quickly that it cannot be submerged in water. My chemistry teacher back in the day tried to demonstrate that a small piece of potassium generates hydrogen in contact with water by quickly pushing it under water and into a small upside down waterfilled test-tube. The test tube ended up stuck in the ceiling foam tiles.

    Reply
  86. Michael K – Sodium is just straight up more reactive than lithium and does not produce a stronger passivation layer (it produces a layer of sodium oxide / hydroxide depending on humidity; basically drain-cleaner a very water soluble salt as does lithium).Lithium metal is much less reactive and usually doesn’t catch fire if you put it in water. If it’s the right shape and size it can; but I have never seen it explode.Sodium however easily ignites and explodes in water. It reacts so violently that it first melts then starts burning then the reaction becomes so fast that an electrical potential is maintained driving the sodium appart into a spiky head hog”” shape due to coulomb repulsion in a fraction of a millisecond. This explosion is followed by burning hydrogen and spatters of burning sodium.Potassium is even worse and tends to react so quickly that it cannot be submerged in water. My chemistry teacher back in the day tried to demonstrate that a small piece of potassium generates hydrogen in contact with water by quickly pushing it under water and into a small upside down waterfilled test-tube. The test tube ended up stuck in the ceiling foam tiles.”””

    Reply
  87. How often do you fill up your car?! If it’s once a week (normal?) that’s more like 19 years. If you’re doing enough miles to fill up every day, you’ll probably only keep a car for 3 years anyway.

    Reply
  88. How often do you fill up your car?! If it’s once a week (normal?) that’s more like 19 years. If you’re doing enough miles to fill up every day you’ll probably only keep a car for 3 years anyway.

    Reply
  89. When I search for “sodium metal” on google images, there are a bunch of pictures of it being cut with a knife out in the open, and it doesn’t seem to burst into flames. Wikipedia says it’s more reactive than lithium, but I guess it quickly forms a stable passivation layer? It does react violently with water though, so I don’t know how they’re claiming in-situ sodium plating *and* aqueous processing. Unless “processing” (whatever they mean by that) is aqueous, but the electrolyte isn’t? Another thing that stood out to me is this still requires cobalt, according to the 1st sentence. But then it’s not mentioned at all in the rest of the article.

    Reply
  90. When I search for sodium metal”” on google images”” there are a bunch of pictures of it being cut with a knife out in the open and it doesn’t seem to burst into flames. Wikipedia says it’s more reactive than lithium but I guess it quickly forms a stable passivation layer?It does react violently with water though”” so I don’t know how they’re claiming in-situ sodium plating *and* aqueous processing. Unless “”””processing”””” (whatever they mean by that) is aqueous”” but the electrolyte isn’t?Another thing that stood out to me is this still requires cobalt”” according to the 1st sentence. But then it’s not mentioned at all in the rest of the article.”””

    Reply
  91. When you puncture a lithium ion battery in that way you are shorting it. To get a high power density you need a large surface area, an intimate mixture of fuel and oxidizer. The perfect battery is a bomb if anything goes even slightly wrong. Making a energy density, high power density battery that’s not dangerous is difficult.

    Reply
  92. The oxide/hydroxide layer can act as a passivation layer depending on its structure and chemistry. Compare aluminum oxide, which acts as a passivation layer on aluminum, vs iron oxide which doesn’t. The aluminum forms only a few nanometers worth of this passivation layer; the iron rusts all the way through. Though I wouldn’t expect such a difference between sodium and lithium.

    But that’s in air. The behavior in water of course depends on solubility. Since NaOH is highly soluble, and the oxide probably converts to the hydroxide upon contact with water, the passivation layer gets dissolved away.

    The reason I was questioning lithium’s passivation in air, is from the stories of Li-ion batteries catching fire when punctured. I think I even saw a video of that once. Yet sodium is cut with a knife, and shows no signs of igniting. But I guess the puncturing of a battery may produce other effects besides just exposing lithium metal to air. Like maybe creating a short circuit.

    Reply
  93. With 1000 cycles life it may only be good for solar grid storage – with a single cycle per day that will last for 3 years. In a car that would last only months.

    Reply
  94. With 1000 cycles life it may only be good for solar grid storage – with a single cycle per day that will last for 3 years. In a car that would last only months.

    Reply
  95. What about Lithium Air batts? NBF reported on how they will be soon in commercial production. Twice the charge capacity and no chance of spontaneously combusting.

    Those would be good for vehicles and cell phones while the Sodium Ion ones for utility power storage, I would think.

    Reply
  96. Michael K – Sodium is just straight up more reactive than lithium and does not produce a stronger passivation layer (it produces a layer of sodium oxide / hydroxide depending on humidity; basically drain-cleaner, a very water soluble salt, as does lithium).

    Lithium metal is much less reactive and usually doesn’t catch fire if you put it in water. If it’s the right shape and size it can; but I have never seen it explode.

    Sodium however easily ignites and explodes in water. It reacts so violently that it first melts, then starts burning, then the reaction becomes so fast that an electrical potential is maintained, driving the sodium appart into a spiky “head hog” shape due to coulomb repulsion in a fraction of a millisecond. This explosion is followed by burning hydrogen and spatters of burning sodium.

    Potassium is even worse and tends to react so quickly that it cannot be submerged in water. My chemistry teacher back in the day tried to demonstrate that a small piece of potassium generates hydrogen in contact with water by quickly pushing it under water and into a small upside down waterfilled test-tube. The test tube ended up stuck in the ceiling foam tiles.

    Reply
  97. Even if it is as good as claimed, getting something from the lab to production in only two years is a huge ask. Productionizing new tech is slow.

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  98. Even if it is as good as claimed getting something from the lab to production in only two years is a huge ask. Productionizing new tech is slow.

    Reply
  99. How often do you fill up your car?! If it’s once a week (normal?) that’s more like 19 years. If you’re doing enough miles to fill up every day, you’ll probably only keep a car for 3 years anyway.

    Reply
  100. I’m looking at an image that contains the words “sodium metal”. So that’s going to be flammable unless you’re claiming the diagram is wrongly labelled. Also, the Li-Ion price is already unsustainable for many applications, so we don’t have to wait.

    Reply
  101. I’m looking at an image that contains the words sodium metal””. So that’s going to be flammable unless you’re claiming the diagram is wrongly labelled. Also”” the Li-Ion price is already unsustainable for many applications”” so we don’t have to wait.”””

    Reply
  102. When I search for “sodium metal” on google images, there are a bunch of pictures of it being cut with a knife out in the open, and it doesn’t seem to burst into flames. Wikipedia says it’s more reactive than lithium, but I guess it quickly forms a stable passivation layer?

    It does react violently with water though, so I don’t know how they’re claiming in-situ sodium plating *and* aqueous processing. Unless “processing” (whatever they mean by that) is aqueous, but the electrolyte isn’t?

    Another thing that stood out to me is this still requires cobalt, according to the 1st sentence. But then it’s not mentioned at all in the rest of the article.

    Reply
  103. If this is as good as claimed then production should start in a year or two. This is the holy grail of battery technology. Assuming that the weight is light enough then installing in autos would reduce battery cost by at least 50%. Even if not light enough then backup/storage for the green technologies in homes and industrial scale will speed their adoption. Unless this is another false start story.

    Reply
  104. If this is as good as claimed then production should start in a year or two. This is the holy grail of battery technology. Assuming that the weight is light enough then installing in autos would reduce battery cost by at least 50{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12}. Even if not light enough then backup/storage for the green technologies in homes and industrial scale will speed their adoption. Unless this is another false start story.

    Reply
  105. Well said, but now Lithium Ion is in full swing, Sodium Ion will be considered only after Lithium price will become unsustainable. It is worth noting that Sodium Ion, unlike Lithium Ion, is not flammable. It will eventually happen, meanwhile due to the similarity in the chemistry, advances in what type will lead to an advance in the other.

    Reply
  106. Well said but now Lithium Ion is in full swing Sodium Ion will be considered only after Lithium price will become unsustainable. It is worth noting that Sodium Ion unlike Lithium Ion is not flammable. It will eventually happen meanwhile due to the similarity in the chemistry advances in what type will lead to an advance in the other.

    Reply
  107. With 1000 cycles life it may only be good for solar grid storage – with a single cycle per day that will last for 3 years. In a car that would last only months.

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  108. I will celebrate when the first production modules come off the production lines. Too many new battery hype stories over the years.

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  109. I will celebrate when the first production modules come off the production lines. Too many new battery hype stories over the years.

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  110. This would be nice if it works out. Existing battery technology is still not very good. I would say the key is not only cheap materials and processing, which is very important. But also long life-time, meaning a very large number of charge-discharge cycles compared to existing batteries.

    Reply
  111. This would be nice if it works out. Existing battery technology is still not very good. I would say the key is not only cheap materials and processing which is very important. But also long life-time meaning a very large number of charge-discharge cycles compared to existing batteries.

    Reply
  112. Home battery walls for charging cars, railroad car or container truck batteries for disaster areas and remote sites, all sorts of possibilities! Maybe cheaper electric cars, too. Hope they work good in cold weather…

    Reply
  113. Home battery walls for charging cars railroad car or container truck batteries for disaster areas and remote sites all sorts of possibilities! Maybe cheaper electric cars too. Hope they work good in cold weather…

    Reply
  114. I’m looking at an image that contains the words “sodium metal”. So that’s going to be flammable unless you’re claiming the diagram is wrongly labelled.

    Also, the Li-Ion price is already unsustainable for many applications, so we don’t have to wait.

    Reply
  115. If this is as good as claimed then production should start in a year or two. This is the holy grail of battery technology. Assuming that the weight is light enough then installing in autos would reduce battery cost by at least 50%. Even if not light enough then backup/storage for the green technologies in homes and industrial scale will speed their adoption. Unless this is another false start story.

    Reply
  116. Well said, but now Lithium Ion is in full swing, Sodium Ion will be considered only after Lithium price will become unsustainable. It is worth noting that Sodium Ion, unlike Lithium Ion, is not flammable. It will eventually happen, meanwhile due to the similarity in the chemistry, advances in what type will lead to an advance in the other.

    Reply
  117. This would be nice if it works out. Existing battery technology is still not very good. I would say the key is not only cheap materials and processing, which is very important. But also long life-time, meaning a very large number of charge-discharge cycles compared to existing batteries.

    Reply
  118. Home battery walls for charging cars, railroad car or container truck batteries for disaster areas and remote sites, all sorts of possibilities! Maybe cheaper electric cars, too. Hope they work good in cold weather…

    Reply

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