Posted on: June 15, 2022 Posted by: Jerry D. Pfeil Comments: 0

After many years of anticipation, sodium-ion batteries finally deliver on their promise of energy storage. However, the commercialization of sodium-ion batteries has been limited to large-scale energy and grid storage. Sodium-ion battery just doesn’t have enough power to power EVs or laptops. Lithium-ion batteries are twice as energy-dense as sodium at 285 Wh/kg. This makes them ideal for portable applications.

Researchers have now reported a new graphene electrode, which could increase the storage capacity of sodium batteries to match that of lithium. This material packs nearly the same amount of sodium ions per volume as a traditional graphite electrode. This opens the door to low-cost, compact sodium battery designs.

The next generation of batteries will be able to replace lithium with sodium because it is abundant and cheap. It also has similar chemical properties to lithium. They are especially suitable for electronics and cars, where lithium-ion batteries can sometimes prove dangerous.

“But at the moment, the main problem with sodium-ion battery is that we don’t have a suitable material for anode materials,” states Jinhua Sun, a researcher at Chalmers University of Technology’s department of industrial and resources science.

The anode material must allow ions to slip into and out of the anode to enable the battery to charge quickly and hold a lot of energy. The sodium-ion battery uses cathodes made from sodium metal oxides. Their anodes are carbon-based, just like their lithium counterparts. However, Santa Clara-based Natron Energy makes its cathodes and anodes using Prussian Blue pigment, which is used in dyes and paints.

Activated carbon, which contains sodium ions within its pores, is being used by some sodium battery developers. Sun says activated carbon must be high-grade, which can be costly and difficult to make.

Graphite is a cheaper option. It is used as the anode in lithium-ion battery batteries. However, sodium ions cannot move between graphite’s stack of graphene sheets. Sun claims that even larger potassium ions can move easily in graphite. Researchers once believed this. “Now, we believe it’s the graphene layer’s surface chemistry and the electronic structure that can’t accommodate sodium ions. “

He and his colleagues have created a graphite-like material to overcome these problems. They attach one layer of benzene molecules on the top of each graphene sheet they have grown on copper foil. They stack many graphene sheets to create a layer cake made of graphene separated by benzene molecules.

The benzene layer makes the layers more spaced apart, allowing sodium ions to enter and exit easily. These ions can also be absorbed by graphene surfaces, which create defects. Additionally, benzene is strongly bound to sodium ions by its chemical groups.

Texas Instruments, the reigning champion, was found in one corner. Fairchild Semiconductor, the challenger, stood in the other corner. Polaroid was the referee, judge and promoter. The contract for electronics of Polaroid’s secret project was up for grabs. It was a groundbreaking product, the SX-70, which was eventually bought by millions.

The SX-70 was the first machine capable of automating instant photography. Edwin Land, founder and CEO of Polaroid Corp. in Cambridge, Mass., saw it as the realization of a long-held dream. A new film was essential to this “point-and-shoot” capability. It would develop under light, eliminating the need for tear-away covers on previous Polaroid films. Advanced electronics were also essential to control all functions of single-lens reflex (SLR), including flashbulb selection and exposure control, mirror positioning, print development, and ejection. These circuits were split into three modules: one for each motor, logic and exposure, and flash control. There were approximately 400 transistors at the end of the count.

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