People are hailing the lithium ion battery as being the gold standard in the industry because they can be recharged hundreds of times and are excellent for providing the power needed to run man different devices, including electric cars. The only problem is that lithium isn’t cheap and it could get even more expensive if more electric vehicles, that are powered with lithium batteries become more common. Some even claim that lithium can become the next oil, in terms of cost.
Experts believe that sodium may be a good alternative to lithium, its abundant and cheap, not to mention, seawater is full of it.
There is, however, one drawback to using sodium in batteries, the sodium atoms are about 70 percent larger in size than lithium atoms. This difference in size causes the battery’s electrodes to wear out faster.
Scientists need to have a better understanding of these challenges and develop solutions before a long-lasting rechargeable sodium battery can be developed. This is exactly what experts plan to do by using a transmission electron microscope, which will allow them to look inside batteries and see how they are charging and discharging at the atomic level, so they can determine what materials and electrodes will do a better job of making the sodium more applicable.
The belief is, that sodium ion batteries wouldn’t need to be as good as lithium ion batteries to be competitive, they would only need to satisfy the consumer’s needs. If the sodium ion battery can be perfected, it is believed, electric cars would become more affordable and more popular. This would then reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, especially if the the batteries were charged using renewable energy sources, providing greater energy independence and less pollution worldwide.