Today’s Video of the Day from the National Science Foundation describes how a study from UT Austin may be on the verge of replacing traditional battery sources with a revolutionary sodium-based battery.
The researchers have developed batteries made of sodium and sulfur. The batteries may ultimately replace lithium-ion batteries, which are currently used in a range of products from smartphones to electric vehicles.
According to the experts, sodium and sulfur are great candidates for battery production because they are cheap and widely available.
“I call it a dream technology because sodium and sulfur are abundant, environmentally benign, and the lowest cost you think of,” said Professor Arumugam Manthiram, director of UT’s Texas Materials Institute. “With expanded electrification and increased need for renewable energy storage going forward, cost and affordability will be the single dominant factor.”
Materials that are currently used in battery production, such as lithium and cobalt, have been increasingly associated with human rights issues. Furthermore, extracting these raw materials requires large quantities of energy and water.
In the video, NSF points out that the new sodium-based batteries could help make fire-hazardous power generators obsolete. This could be very helpful in the event of a power outage during a storm, eliminating the need to worry about the potential for fire and toxic fumes when using a back-up generator. The sodium material is highly stable, recharges quickly, and environmentally safe.
Video Credit: National Science Foundation/University of Texas at Austin