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Road to Better Performing Batteries Using Less Critical Raw Materials

Researchers take next step towards better, more sustainable batteries made with widely available materials

by Delft University of Technology
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TU Delft researchers are developing batteries that can charge faster, offer more stable storage, and are made of sustainable materials that are widely available. In doing so, they offer a cheaper alternative to lithium-ion batteries that consist of rare materials and have a high CO2 footprint. Their research was recently published in Nature Sustainability and details the development of a new positive electrode.

This development builds on a paper published in January in Nature Energy by Marnix Wagemaker and Alexandros Vasileiadis, in collaboration with researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, on fast-charging sodium-ion batteries and improvements made to the negative electrode. These batteries can be made from organic materials and reduce the dependence on rare materials that do not come from Europe. 

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Plus point: cathode also improved

The Delft researchers have also improved the other side. Their recent article, titled “Fast-charge high-voltage layered cathodes for sodium-ion batteries,” is based on design principles they published in Science in 2020 in a paper titled “Rational design of layered oxide materials for sodium-ion batteries.”

From these design principles, a material has been created that combines the best of two possible structures: high energy density is combined with fast charging. As an added bonus, the material appears to change its structure very gradually during charging and discharging, making it last even longer. It also contains no cobalt, which is still common in lithium-ion cathodes.

Next steps

Thanks to the growing knowledge about these battery materials, the third Growth Fund project on sustainable battery technology will move on to the next step. In it, in addition to lithium-ion batteries research, sodium-ion research will also be addressed nationally. The battery research will be further expanded, allowing this technology to be applied to national and European markets. 

- This press release was originally published on the Delft University of Technology website