Sodium is a common substance that is often extracted from soda ash, but is found everywhere, including in seawater and peat from bogs. It is also relevant to the types of programs Meng describes. Ions are slightly heavier and larger than lithium, meaning you can’t carry more energy in smaller environments, like a car seat. “Where sodium batteries can have a significant impact on electricity,” explains Nuria Tapia-Ruiz, a professor at Lancaster University and director of Faraday Institution’s sodium battery initiative. Those batteries may be a little bigger, a little heavier, but it doesn’t matter because they just need to be tight.
Historically, Tapia-Ruiz says, sodium batteries have been replaced in part due to the stability of the product. Although sodium and lithium are frequent neighbors, they exist in the same universities of chemistry, reacting differently to different substances and chemicals. This means that sodium conversion requires the production of new cathode and battery anodes, positive and negative electrodes that emit and release ions while the battery is suspended and used. One problem is that what happens inside the battery can eat up the electrolytes that live between the electrodes, reduce the battery life or put it at risk of forming sodium, which can explode. Another problem is that high-sodium batteries have a penny, as do most lithium batteries. Eliminating those metals is of great importance to researchers, albeit complex. “But then it’s the right thing to do because you want to create a sustainable and green industry,” says Tapia-Ruiz.
But few labs and beginners still working with sodium have made steady advances in recent years. Natron, originally from California, manufactures sodium batteries primarily to generate backup capacity in factories and data centers. The company uses so-called Prussian blue materials as the basis for its electrodes, as opposed to the original pigment used in photography, including Under the Great Wave Off Kanagawa. Inside the battery, its structure is very weak, even with sodium levels. But one possibility, according to Jack Pouchet, vice president of sales at the company, is that “Our products can be local.” It contains common ingredients such as sodium, manganese, and iron, and the factory is located in Santa Clara, California. In the event of a power failure, the battery can charge and discharge the power quickly. Oomph over range. The company hopes that its batteries can be used to charge electric vehicles as soon as the electric grid is stretched. Natron is moving forward with plans to install such equipment in San Diego, Pouchet says.
Another goal of the company is security. Pouchet points out what happened to the grid battery storage, as well as a large fire in the battery storage area. Australia and burned on another priesthood in California, such as raising concerns about the technology of installing batteries in everyone’s home, even though a fire may be less effective. He said: “I would never want that in a garage. The company’s website features video clips of cracking and burning battery packs and firing them with guns, all without hassle.
But, in general, the safety of sodium batteries is “not good,” says Meng, and it depends on the design of the battery. It all comes down to the integration of the right cathode with the electrolyte — and eliminating fire hazards is particularly difficult for battery-powered batteries, such as those found in cars, or those designed to provide long-term power, such as grid storage batteries.