U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

New Electrode Could Lead to Batteries for Large-Scale Energy Storage
Published: February 10, 2012
Posted: May 08, 2012

Thanks to fundamental research by a team of DOE scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Central China Normal University, and Wuhan University, sodium-ion batteries could be part of the future of storage and on-demand use of energy from wind farms. Large-scale energy storage and the ability to release electricity on demand requires high-capacity, low-cost batteries. The team developed a new alloy for use in sodium-ion batteries that stores nearly twice as much energy as carbon electrodes used in popular lithium-ion batteries. The team designed the anode by combining, at the nanoscale, a tin and antimony alloy with carbon. Using one of the transmission electron microscopes at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL), a DOE scientific user facility located in Richland, Washington, the team found that the alloy reaction could be used to store sodium ions in the anode. The new anode also quickly charges and discharges without significant losses in capacity. The team is optimizing the alloy composition and structure and examining the structural change of the different alloy phases during the reactions to further improve its use for even higher capacities, increased durability, and faster charge/discharge cycles. For more information about this research, see the recent EMSL highlight: highlight link.

Reference: Xiao, L., Y. Cao, J. Xiao, W. Wang, L. Kovarik, Z. Nie, and J. Liu. 2012. "High-Capacity, Reversible Alloying Reactions," Chemical Communications 48, 3321-23. DOI: 10.1039/C2CC17129E. (Reference link)

Contact: Paul E. Bayer, SC-23.1, (301) 903-5324
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: DOE Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER


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