Sodium-ion battery

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Sodium-ion batteries are a type of reusable battery that uses sodium ions as charge carriers. The battery-grade salts of sodium are cheaply abundant, much more so than those of lithium, making them a cost-effective alternative .[1]


As of 2014 Aquion Energy offered a commercially available sodium-ion battery with cost/kWh capacity similar to a lead acid battery for use as a backup power source for electricity micro-grids.[2]

Another company, Faradion, offered for license a range of low-cost sodium-ion materials, which are a drop-in replacement for established lithium-ion technology.[3] Unlike sodium-sulfur batteries,[4] sodium ion batteries can be made portable and can function at room temperature (approx. 25˚C). Sodium-ion also offers enhanced safety and transportation features, particularly over lithium-ion.

Energy storage[edit]

Like all batteries, the sodium ion battery stores energy in chemical bonds of its anode. When the battery is charging Na+ ions de-intercalate and migrate towards the anode. Meanwhile charge balancing electrons pass from the cathode through the external circuit containing the charger and into the anode. During discharge the process reverses. Once a circuit is completed electrons pass back from the anode to the cathode and the Na+ ions travel back to the cathode.[5]

Sodium ion cells have been reported with a voltage of 3.6 volts, able to maintain 115 Ah/kg after 50 cycles, equating to a cathode-specific energy of approximately 400 Wh/kg[6] Inferior cycling performance limits the ability of non-aqueous Na-ion batteries to compete with commercial Li-ion cells. Faradion claimed to have improved cycling in full Na-ion pouch cells using a layered oxide cathode.[7]


Using NaxC6 as the anode, the average voltage on the low potential plateau was higher on Na cells compared to Li cells. Unlike traditional Li cells, which make use of an intercalated graphite anode with a fully lithiated stoichiometry of LiC6, Na cells do not reversibly bind graphite. This is in part due to the larger ionic radius of the Na+ ion compared to the Li+ ion, which causes the graphite to expand. For this reason, carbon-based anodes rely on amorphous carbon consisting of spatially disoriented graphene sheets, defect and interstitial pores. These amorphous carbon allotropes can be categorized into a dichotomy of hard and soft. Hard carbons cannot be transformed into graphite through annealing at high temperatures, while soft carbons can be. The hard carbon materials can be derived from a variety of feedstocks such as: sugar, starch, fiber and certain polymers.[8]

In addition to carbon anodes, alloying different types of anode with additives such as Antimony (Sb), Tin (Sn), Phosphorus (P), Germanium (Ge) and Lead (Pb) can also yield results. As opposed to carbon anodes, which merely provide organic complexes for the storage of Na+ ions, alloyed anodes form inorganic complexes with the Na+ ions such as Na3Sb, Na3Sn and Na3P. This capability gives alloy anodes a greater theoretical capacity than carbon. Whereas amorphous carbon based carbon anodes have shown capacity between 300-400 mAh g−1, a Na3P anode has a theoretical capacity of 2596 mAh g−1. However, the alloying process causes an extremely large volume change, sometimes nearing 400%, in the anode. This large volume change results in the fractures and displaces the alloying material, which causes it to passivate and become 'dead weight', unable to accept sodium ions. Unchecked, these large volume changes reduce cycle life. For this reason, much of the research conducted in the area of anode alloys focuses on mitigating the volume changes that happen upon sodiation, as well as reducing their negative effects.


In one study, tin-coated wood anodes replaced stiff anode bases that are too brittle to withstand the swelling and shrinking that happens as ions come and go. Wood fibers proved supple enough withstand more than 400 charging cycles. After hundreds of cycles, the wood ended up wrinkled but intact. Computer models indicated that the wrinkles effectively reduce stress during charging and recharging. Na ions move via the fiberous cell walls and diffuse at the tin (Sn) film surface.[9][10]

Another researcher published a way to use MoS2/graphene composite paper as an electrode, yielding 230 Ah/kg with Coulombic efficiency reaching approximately 99%..[11][12][13]


Tests of Na2FePO4F and Li2FePO4F cathode materials indicated that the sodium iron phosphate cathode can replace a lithium iron phosphate cathode in a Li cell.[6] The lithium-ion and sodium-ion combination would lower manufacturing costs.[6]

P2-Na2/3[Fe1/2Mn1/2]O2 delivered 190  Ah/kg of reversible capacity in sodium cells using electrochemically active Fe3+/Fe4+ redox at room temperature.[14] Triclinic Na2FeP2O7 was examined as rechargeable sodium ion batteries by a glass-ceramics method. The precursor glass, also made of Na2FeP2O7, was prepared by melt-quenching. Na2FeP2O7 exhibits 2.9 V, 88 Ah/kg.[15]

Separately, chromium cathodes employed the reaction:

NaF + (1−x)VPO4 + xCrPO4 → NaV1−xCrxPO4F

The effects of Cr doping on cathode performance materials was analyzed in terms of crystal structure, charge/discharge curves and cycle performance and indicated that the Cr-doped materials expressed better cycle stability. The initial reversible capacity was 83.3 Ah/kg and the first charge/discharge efficiency was about 90.3%. The reversible capacity retention of the material was 91.4% after the 20th cycle.[6][16]

Cathode materials First charge capacity (Ah/kg) First discharge capacity (Ah/kg) Capacity loss in the first cycle (Ah/kg) Reversible efficiency in the first cycle (%) Discharge capacity after 20 cycles (Ah/kg) Capacity retention ratio after 20 (%)
NaV0.92Cr0.08PO4F 83.3 75.2 8.1 90.3 68.8 91.4
NaV0.96Cr0.04PO4F 93.3 82.6 10.7 88.5 67.9 82.2
NaVPO4F 106.9 87.7 19.2 82.0 64.5 73.5

See also[edit]

Aquion Energy



  1. ^ Bullis, Kevin (December 2, 2009). "Sodium-Ion Cells for Cheap Energy Storage". Technology Review. 
  2. ^ Bullis, Kevin (November 14, 2014). "A Battery to Prop Up Renewable Power Hits the Market". Technology Review. Retrieved December 2014. 
  3. ^ "Sodium Technology
  4. ^ "About Sodium-Sulfur (NaS) Batteries" The Energy Blog, January 18, 2006,
  5. ^ Zumdahl, Steven (3 December 2007). Chemical Principles. Cengage Learning. p. 495. ISBN 0-618-94690-X. 
  6. ^ a b c d Ellis, B. L.; Makahnouk, W. R. M.; Makimura, Y.; Toghill, K.; Nazar, L. F. (2007). "A multifunctional 3.5V iron-based phosphate cathode for rechargeable batteries". Nature Materials 6 (10): 749–53. doi:10.1038/nmat2007. PMID 17828278. 
  7. ^ Barker, J.; Heap, R.J.; Roche, N.; Tan, C.; Sayers, R.; Lui, Y. "Low Cost Na-ion Battery Technology" (PDF). Faradion Limited. Retrieved December 2014. 
  8. ^ Stevens, D. A.; Dahn, J. R. (2000). "High Capacity Anode Materials for Rechargeable Sodium-Ion Batteries". Journal of The Electrochemical Society 147 (4): 1271–3. doi:10.1149/1.1393348. 
  9. ^ "A battery made of wood: long-lasting, efficient, environmentally friendly". KurzweilAI. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  10. ^ Zhu, H.; Jia, Z.; Chen, Y.; Weadock, N.; Wan, J.; Vaaland, O.; Han, X.; Li, T.; Hu, L. (2013). "Tin Anode for Sodium-Ion Batteries Using Natural Wood Fiber as a Mechanical Buffer and Electrolyte Reservoir". Nano Letters 13 (7): 3093–100. doi:10.1021/nl400998t. PMID 23718129.  edit
  11. ^ Indian-origin develops paper electrode for sodium-ion battery, The Economist Times, 30 January 2014
  12. ^ David, L.; Bhandavat, R.; Singh, G. (2014). "MoS2/Graphene Composite Paper for Sodium-Ion Battery Electrodes". ACS Nano 8 (2): 1759–70. doi:10.1021/nn406156b. 
  13. ^ Johnson, D. (31 Jan 2014). "Graphene Composite Offers Critical Fix for Sodium-ion Batteries". IEEE Spectrum Nanoclast. 
  14. ^ Yabuuchi, N.; Kajiyama, M.; Iwatate, J.; Nishikawa, H.; Hitomi, S.; Okuyama, R.; Usui, R.; Yamada, Y.; Komaba, S. (2012). "P2-type Nax[Fe1/2Mn1/2]O2 made from earth-abundant elements for rechargeable Na batteries". Nature Materials 11 (6): 512–7. doi:10.1038/nmat3309. 
  15. ^ Honma, T.; Togashi, T.; Ito, N.; Komatsu, T. (2012). "Fabrication of Na2FeP2O7 glass-ceramics for sodium ion battery" (PDF). Journal of the Ceramic Society of Japan 120 (1404): 344–6. doi:10.2109/jcersj2.120.344.  edit
  16. ^ Zhuo, H.; Wang, X.; Tang, A.; Liu, Z.; Gamboa, S.; Sebastian, P. J. (2006). "The preparation of NaV1−xCrxPO4F cathode materials for sodium-ion battery". Journal of Power Sources 160 (1): 698–703. doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2005.12.079.