Making sodium-ion batteries that last

February 15, 2017, American Chemical Society
Credit: American Chemical Society

Lithium-ion batteries have become essential in everyday technology. But these power sources can explode under certain circumstances and are not ideal for grid-scale energy storage. Sodium-ion batteries are potentially a safer and less expensive alternative, but current versions don't last long enough yet for practical use. Now, scientists have developed an anode material that enables sodium-ion batteries to perform at high capacity over hundreds of cycles, according to their report in the journal ACS Nano.

For years, scientists have considered sodium-ion batteries a safer and lower-cost candidate for large-scale than . But so far, sodium-ion batteries have not operated at high capacity for long-term use. Lithium and sodium have similar properties in many ways, but sodium ions are much larger than lithium ions. This size difference leads to the rapid deterioration of a key battery component. Meilin Liu, Chenghao Yang and colleagues wanted to find an anode material that would give sodium-ion batteries a longer life.

The researchers developed a simple approach to making a high-performance anode material by binding an antimony-based mineral onto sulfur-doped graphene sheets. Incorporating the anode into a sodium-ion battery allowed it to perform at 83 percent capacity over 900 cycles. The researchers say this is the best reported performance for a sodium-ion battery with an antimony-based . To ultimately commercialize their technology, they would need to scale up battery fabrication while maintaining its high performance.

Explore further: Borophene could be an extraordinary sodium anode material for sodium-based batteries

More information: Xunhui Xiong et al. Enhancing Sodium Ion Battery Performance by Strongly Binding Nanostructured SbSon Sulfur-Doped Graphene Sheets, ACS Nano (2016). DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.6b05653

Sodium ion batteries (SIBs) have been considered a promising alternative to lithium ion batteries for large-scale energy storage. However, their inferior electrochemical performances, especially cyclability, become the major challenge for further development of SIBs. Large volume change and sluggish diffusion kinetics are generally considered to be responsible for the fast capacity degradation. Here we report the strong chemical bonding of nanostructured Sb2S3 on sulfur-doped graphene sheets (Sb2S3/SGS) that enables a stable capacity retention of 83% for 900 cycles with high capacities and excellent rate performances. To the best of our knowledge, the cycling performance of the Sb2S3/SGS composite is superior to those reported for any other Sb-based materials for SIBs. Computational calculations demonstrate that sulfur-doped graphene (SGS) has a stronger affinity for Sb2S3 and the discharge products than pure graphene, resulting in a robust composite architecture for outstanding cycling stability. Our study shows a feasible and effective way to solve the long-term cycling stability issue for SIBs.

Related Stories

Could a seawater battery help end our dependence on lithium?

December 7, 2016

With the ubiquity of lithium-ion batteries in smartphones and other rechargeable devices, it's hard to imagine replacing them. But the rising price of lithium has spurred a search for alternatives. One up-and-coming battery ...

High storage batteries from sodium ion batteries

October 26, 2016

The mechanism of sodium ion storage in an important two-dimensional material could be a simpler and less toxic route to cheaper batteries, a team of KAUST researchers discovered.

Komaba Group reports sodium ion battery progress

September 28, 2012

(—Scientists with a common goal, to figure out an alternative to the lithium ion battery, the main power source of choice, are not giving up. The quarrel is not with the lithium ion battery's performance but in ...

Recommended for you

Asteroids, hydrogen make great recipe for life on Mars

March 26, 2019

A new study reveals asteroid impacts on ancient Mars could have produced key ingredients for life if the Martian atmosphere was rich in hydrogen. An early hydrogen-rich atmosphere on Mars could also explain how the planet ...

Cool Earth theory sheds more light on diamonds

March 26, 2019

A QUT geologist has published a new theory on the thermal evolution of Earth billions of years ago that explains why diamonds have formed as precious gemstones rather than just lumps of common graphite.

New cellulose-based material represents three sensors in one

March 26, 2019

Cellulose soaked in a carefully designed polymer mixture acts as a sensor to measure pressure, temperature and humidity at the same time. The measurements are completely independent of each other. The ability to measure pressure, ...

Physicists discover new class of pentaquarks

March 26, 2019

Tomasz Skwarnicki, professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, has uncovered new information about a class of particles called pentaquarks. His findings could lead to a new understanding ...

Study finds people who feed birds impact conservation

March 26, 2019

People in many parts of the world feed birds in their backyards, often due to a desire to help wildlife or to connect with nature. In the United States alone, over 57 million households in the feed backyard birds, spending ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (2) Feb 15, 2017
I'm not putting a salt battery anywhere near my electronic devices let alone inside it, no thank you, dumb idea.
5 / 5 (1) Feb 15, 2017
I'm not putting a salt battery anywhere near my electronic devices let alone inside it, no thank you, dumb idea.

But you'd happily put a significantly alkaline battery in there? or a potentially flammable lithium battery? How about a hydrogen fuel cell --it might go up like the Hindenburg! (no, not really)

The problem is that a battery has chemical energy stored in fairly dense materials. You're objecting to those materials and saying you won't want it anywhere near your equipment. But anything that has that sort of stored energy will be dangerous in some way.

Choose your poison.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.