High-efficiency, all-solid-state sodium-air battery achieves energy efficiency of 86%

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From pv magazine ESS News site

Metal-air batteries, utilizing lithium or sodium, have been of great interest owing to their exceptionally high theoretical gravimetric energy densities. These batteries predominantly rely on the utilization of pure oxygen for the formation and decomposition of metal oxides, rather than ambient air.

While ambient air is a more practical option, CO2 and H2O present in air cause severe irreversible reactions, such as the formation of carbonates and hydroxides, which typically degrades a battery. To address this, metal-air batteries usually require additional equipment, such as an oxygen permeation membrane to either purify oxygen or selectively use atmospheric oxygen.

Now, researchers from Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) in South Korea have developed a high-energy, high-efficiency all-solid-state sodium-air battery that can reversibly utilize sodium and air without requiring special equipment.

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The team employed Nasicon, a sodium superionic conductor and a solid electrolyte, to tackle the carbonate issue. Nasicon, comprising elements like sodium, silicon, and zirconium, allows ion movement in the solid state while demonstrating high electrochemical and chemical stability.

Leveraging this solid electrolyte, the team protected sodium metal electrodes from air and facilitated the breakdown of carbonate formed during electrochemical cell operation.

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