Sodium and Potassium Based Batteries - Future of Smart Grid
energycioinsights

Sodium and Potassium Based Batteries - Future of Smart Grid

By Energy CIO Insights | Friday, November 30, 2018

The need for energy is ubiquitous, either in a stored form such as batteries or natural form such as heat or solar. And with the evolution of mankind and their technological advancements from manual gear vehicles to self-driving vehicles to space rockets and satellites, the utilization of energy has increased substantially. But this rapid advancement has raised the topic of depletion of lithium, the metal used in almost all the rechargeable batteries. Many techniques and methodologies have been experimented with to discover energy sources that are powerful enough to power an energy grid while also being economical and sustainable. Based on this concept, the researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology took up the task of inventing batteries based on Sodium and Potassium.

According to Matthew McDowell, an assistant professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and the School of Materials Science and Engineering, it was initially thought that sodium and potassium-ion batteries decay at a much faster rate than their alternative and tend to hold less energy. This hypothesis by McDowell was proved true by a study published in Joule on 19th of June, by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

A team of researcher's indulged in an experiment where lithium, sodium, and potassium were made to react with iron sulphide, also known as pyrite and fool's gold. Due to the larger size of sodium and potassium ions as compared to lithium ions, it was initially fortified that the former would cause significant degradation while reacting with the particles of iron sulphide. But researchers noticed that iron sulphide was more stable when reacting with sodium and potassium than when reacting with lithium. The experiment revealed that battery based on sodium or potassium could have a much longer life than what was initially anticipated. This research has given birth to the possibility of usage of sodium and potassium-based batteries in the future.

Although still in its infancy, sodium and potassium-ion batteries could brighten up the future of mankind at a much cheaper cost and at a much higher scale than lithium-based batteries. Sodium and potassium-ion batteries could be the future of high energy grid if and when the earth is left with no or minimum amount of lithium in its core.

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