Beyond lithium: BAM explores sustainable battery materials

Beyond lithium: BAM explores sustainable battery materials-battery

Worldwide, scientists are looking for alternatives to lithium-ion batteries. As promising, sodium-ion batteries apply, but the anode is a vulnerability in this technology so far. The Federal Institute for Materials Research and Examination (BAM) develops novel core-shell composites in a cooperation project, which should lead to efficient rechargeable batteries with improved security.

So far, electric batteries that drive E cars are used as stationary power storage or used for industrial applications, almost exclusively on lithium-ion technology. For all the benefits, the battery material lithium also has disadvantages: the global reserves of the alkali metal are limited. His degradation from salt water is expensive and little environmentally friendly. In addition, lithium batteries are currently needed for the electrodes cobalt and nickel metals, which are also degraded under problematic conditions or. be poisonous.

Worldwide, researchers are looking for an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to lithium. As particularly promising are sodium ion batteries. They are a “drop-in technology”, so can be transmitted without major problems on common battery production. In addition, you do not need cobalt nor nickel. Above all, sodium is easily available as a natural ingredient of saline.

However, as weak point of sodium ion batteries, however, the material of the “plus poles”, also referred to as anode. This material is the “tank” of an electric battery, it should be able to store as many positive sodium ions as possible in the charged state. Thus, it is crucial for the efficiency of the battery.

At the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing in Berlin now launches a cooperation project that is dedicated to searching for a suitable anode material to advance sodium ion technology. It is located in the new battery test center, which the BAM has opened only a few weeks ago.

Instead of graphite, as with the slightly smaller lithium ions, so-called hard carbons are used for sodium ions so far. In the pores and gears of the disorderly carbon, however, not only sodium ions can be stored, but also electrolyte also reaches the ionic fluid of the battery cell. This leads to undesirable losses of storage capacity and thus goes at the expense of efficiency.

“It is very complex to find the ideal structure for these novel materials. We want to develop tailor-made composite materials that provide as many sodium ions as possible, but keep electrolytes away, but explains Tim-Patrick Fellinger, which guides the composite project and is at the BAM expert for energy materials. “The challenge is to find a material that is at the same time safe and efficient.”

Involved in the composite project are the Helmholtz Center Berlin and the TU Berlin as well as several companies specializing in carbon materials for batteries. “The fast knowledge exchange with industry is important to us, so I am looking forward to the participations,” says Fellinger. “When we succeed with our concept, this would mean a great innovation thrust for sodium ion technology overall.”The composite project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in the context of promoting” Battery 2020 Transfer “.

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1 thought on “Beyond lithium: BAM explores sustainable battery materials”

  1. “In addition, lithium batteries are currently needed for the electrodes cobalt and nickel metals, which are also degraded under problematic conditions or. be poisonous.”

    SOO is displayed wrong: the meanwhile reinforced LFP batteries are also lithium batteries But in contrast, need neither cobalt nor manganese, nor nickel, but rather abundant iron phosphate. With significant advantages for costs, life, fire security and recycling, but (currently only little) require more space and weight!


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