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A new battery constructed from sodium-sulphur, which is a type of molten salt that can be processed from sea water. This new battery is low-cost and more environmentally friendly than existing options.
According to lead researcher, Dr Shenlong Zhao from the University of Sydney, this new innovation could be a “breakthrough” for renewable energy.
“Our sodium battery has the potential to dramatically reduce costs while providing four times as much storage capacity [as Lithium],” he said to Euronews.green. “This is a significant breakthrough for renewable energy development which, although reduces costs in the long term, has had several financial barriers to entry.”
Molten salt batteries have been around for 50 years, but they have been an “inferior alternative” due to their short energy life cycle. This new battery is different and scientists altered the electrodes to improve the reactivity of the sulphur, which is a key element determining the storage capacity.
The University of Sydney research advice said “the resulting product showed super-high capacity and ultra-long life at room temperature.”
Due to the fact that sea salt is a very common product, it could provide a scalable alternative to lithium ion batteries.
“When the sun isn’t shining and the breeze isn’t blowing, we need high-quality storage solutions that don’t cost the Earth and are easily accessible on a local or regional level,” Dr Zhao said. “Storage solutions that are manufactured using plentiful resources like sodium – which can be processed from sea water – also have the potential to guarantee greater energy security more broadly and allow more countries to join the shift towards decarbonisation.”
Now, the plan is to improve and commercialize the new cells.