Sodium-ion batteries could be the future of Electric Vehicles. They offer a potential solution to the challenges of expensive raw materials and unreliable supply chains associated with Lithium-ion batteries. However, their rapid performance decline with repeated charging and discharging cycles has been a significant hurdle for commercial adoption.
A recent study identified the root cause of this performance decline: defects in the cathode material production. This discovery will enable researchers to design improved cathodes, leading to longer-lasting sodium-ion batteries and their broader market use.
Battery developers can now create nearly defect-free cathodes for sodium-ion batteries. This innovation could result in lower-cost batteries with extended lifespans. It could also lead to more economical Electric Vehicles with increased driving ranges and quicker charging times. Additionally, it may reduce costs for energy storage within the electric grid.
This research involved the investigation of newly synthesized cathode materials using high-energy X-Ray beams and the analytical capabilities of two Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science user facilities. The study found that defects emerge during the cooling phase of the synthesis process, leading to cathode particles cracking and performance decline.
With this understanding, battery developers can modify the synthesis conditions for batteries and manage defects within Sodium-ion Battery cathodes. This research highlights the importance of eradicating these defects to ensure the sustained and stable cycling of sodium-ion batteries at higher voltage levels.
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