Researchers at the University of Sydney have developed a new seawater-based battery that can store four times more energy than lithium batteries at a lower and more environmentally friendly price.
This battery is made of sodium sulfur that can be extracted from salty sea water, says Xinlong Zhao, principal investigator at the University of Sydney, this battery may occur an important achievement in the field of renewable and clean energy.
With climate change and unprecedentedly high temperatures, there is an urgent need to use renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy, but according to the research team we need to store the energy produced in batteries to be used when needed.
“We need high-quality storage solutions that, when the sun isn’t shining or windy, can be quickly accessed and used,” explains Dr. Zhao.
Typical batteries contain many metals such as lithium, graphite and cobalt. In addition to the huge financial cost of mining, lithium mining results in significant water use, damage to biodiversity and ecosystem functions. For example, it takes about 2.2 million liters to extract lithium to produce one metric ton.
The electrodes of this charge battery have been changed to improve the sulfur reaction, which is a key element in determining storage capacity. Due to the availability of sea salt, these batteries could provide an alternative to lithium batteries.