Over six months ago, Ann reported that PNNL researchers were starting to see some success in re-engineering the form of sodium beta batteries (NBB) from a cylinder-type of construction to a flat disc in which the components are stacked.
Initial investigation showed that by changing the form, the performance could be improved by 30% and operated at lower temperatures. Given these improvements and the relatively low cost of the component materials, researchers have a belief that these NBBs might be competitive with lithium-ion batteries and that they could also be scaled up to utility-sized products.
“This planar sodium battery technology shows potential as an option for integrating more solar and wind power into our electric grid,” said Carl Imhoff, electricity infrastructure sector manager at PNNL.
Now the group has published a paper in the ECS Transactions about their recent progress with flat NBB cells, including initial cell performance, cathode design and chemistry.
PNNL says that the battery’s flat components can easily be stacked in a way that produces a much more compact battery, making it an attractive option for large-scale energy storage, such as on the electrical grid.
“Our goal is to get a safer, more affordable battery into the market for energy storage. This development in battery technology gets us one step closer,” said PNNL scientist Xiaochuan Lu, co-author of the paper.