UCLA Pioneers Future of Energy Storage with Breakthrough Sodium Ion Batteries

UCLA Leads Innovation in Energy Storage

UCLA’s Center for Strain Optimization for Renewable Energy, or STORE center, is spearheading advancements to propel sodium ion batteries into mainstream markets. With a budget of $4.5 million funded by the Department of Energy’s Energy Earthshots program, this initiative aims to mirror lithium ion batteries’ performance while using more abundant sodium.

Advancing Sodium Ion Battery Technology

UCLA’s STORE center is innovatively creating materials spacious enough for the flow of sodium ions, alongside engineering layers that are resistant to deformation from the motion of these ions. Pioneered by distinguished UCLA professor of chemistry Sarah Tolbert, the project seeks to develop batteries that can handle the larger sodium ions without compromising the integrity of their internal structure.

By focusing on low-cost materials such as iron, manganese, titanium, sulfur, and phosphorous, UCLA is on the quest to produce sodium ion batteries that not only match but potentially outpace current lithium ion solutions in both efficiency and sustainability.

Collaboration with Leading Institutions

Collaboration is key for UCLA’s STORE center, which joins forces with world-class scientists from UCSB, the University of Southern California, Caltech, and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Notable UCLA faculty like chemistry professor Xiangfeng Duan, materials science professor Bruce Dunn, and chemical engineering professor Yuzhang Li are also heavily involved in driving this initiative forward.

This partnership of academia and research institutes strive to transform the energy landscape, promoting a future where clean technology and accessibility go hand in hand.

Towards a Sustainable Future

With this thrust, UCLA champions a future where renewable energy sources are bolstered by cost-effective, high-performance storage solutions. Their effort is a testament to the enduring spirit of innovation, echoing the ambitious legacy of JFK’s Moonshot program. The goal is clear: within the next decade, sodium ion batteries are envisioned to become a cornerstone of energy storage solutions.

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