The sea salt battery may one day power electric vehicles

The sea salt battery could soon power your smartphones, laptops, and electric cars. It is from Sodium-Sulphur, a molten salt processed from seawater. It is readily available and inexpensive. It is also known as the Sodium-ion battery. 

The challenge: The molten salt battery has been around for 50 years but is considered inferior because of its low energy capacity and short life cycle. Instead of discarding the battery because of its limitation, researchers have worked for years to make sea salt batteries viable because of their uniqueness. What is unique about the sea salt battery? Most batteries contain rare earth metals like graphite, cobalt, and lithium. Lithium-ion batteries remain the people’s choice for power operation in the world’s grid markets.

Lithium-ion batteries can store and retain energy for an extended period; hence, they feature in electronics like laptops, EVs, and smartphones. Meanwhile, lithium is expensive to mine, and the mining results in environmental damage like soil, air, and water pollution.  On the contrary, sea salt is abundant, inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and non-toxic. The Sodium-ion battery could be a breakthrough for renewable energy.

According to Dr. Zhao, we need batteries built from resources like sodium to guarantee energy security. After years of work on sea salt batteries, the researchers have developed a super high capacity and an ultra-long life sea salt battery. This new battery is nonflammable, works well in colder temperatures, is built with four times the capacity of lithium-ion batteries, and is cheaper to produce.

This new ability of the sodium-ion battery makes it valuable to apply its technology in electric cars, smartphones, and solar. According to Dr. Zhao, we need affordable quality batteries when there is no sun or breeze. The researchers at the University of Sydney (chemical engineering facility) tested the new sodium-ion battery and planned to commercialize it. The sea salt battery is an excellent alternative to the widely used lithium-ion batteries because it guarantees energy security with no environmental threats.