Sodium ion batteries are commercially feasible

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 14.52.06The inventor of the lithium ion battery and a team of researchers at the University of Texas in Austin said they’ve identified a cathode material that could pave the way for low cost sodium ion batteries.

Professor John Goodenough, the inventor of the lithium ion battery, said that sodium ion batteries offer a promising replacement for lithium ion batteries because sodium is abundant and cheap.

Lithium ion batteries are expensive to make and rely on the availability of lithium which is by no means as common as salt.

The challenge the researchers face is how to improve the performance and safety of sodium ion batteries so they can be commercialised.

Obstacles to sodium ion batteries include performance, weight and instability of materials but hte team has come up with a non toxic and cheap mineral called eldfellite, which it said will likely be a candidate for commercialisation.

Preetam Singh, a researcher in the team said: “We believe our cathode material provides a good baseline structure for the development of new materials that could eventually make the sodium ion battery a commercial reality.”

The illustration above shows the crystal structure of the eldfellite cathode for a sodium ion battery.