A sodium-sulfur battery created by engineers at The University of Texas at Austin solves one of the biggest hurdles that has held back the technology as a commercially viable alternative to the ubiquitous lithium-ion batteries that power everything from smartphones to electric vehicles.
Sodium and sulfur stand out as appealing materials for future battery production because they are cheaper and more widely available than materials such as lithium and cobalt, which also have environmental and human rights concerns. Because of this, researchers have worked for the past two decades to make room-temperature, sodium-based batteries viable.
"I call it a dream technology because sodium and sulfur are abundant, environmentally benign, and the lowest cost you think of," said Arumugam Manthiram, director of UT's Texas Materials Institute and professor in the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering. "With expanded electrification and increased need for renewable energy storage going forward, cost and affordability will be the single dominant factor."
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