Sodium could be the ingredient to lead a revolution in inexpensive and reliable large-scale energy storage for renewables.
Solar power is great, but it can’t generate energy 24/7. To ensure our power system stays reliable as more renewables come online, we need energy storage. Most storage comes in the form of lithium-ion batteries – the same things that power your phone and laptop.
The problem with lithium is that it’s an extremely limited resource, making up less than 0.002 per cent of the Earth’s crust. Lithium’s scarcity makes it expensive, and the price will probably go even higher as the global demand for storage keeps rising.
Enter sodium. One of the two elements in ordinary salt, sodium is as cheap as (salted) chips and has a near-unlimited supply. And thanks to a team of talented researchers from the University of Wollongong (UOW), inexpensive and reliable sodium-ion batteries are only a few years away.
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