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Title: Liquid-Metal Electrode to Enable Ultra-Low Temperature Sodium-Beta Alumina Batteries for Renewable Energy Storage

Metal electrodes have a high capacity for energy storage but have found limited applications in batteries because of dendrite formation and other problems. In this paper, we report a new alloying strategy that can significantly reduce the melting temperature and improve wetting with the electrolyte to allow the use of liquid metal as anode in sodium-beta alumina batteries (NBBs) at much lower temperatures (e.g., 95 to 175°C). Commercial NBBs such as sodium-sulfur (Na-S) battery and sodium-metal halide (ZEBRA) batteries typically operate at relatively high temperatures (e.g., 300-350°C) due to poor wettability of sodium on the surface of β"-Al2O3. Our combined experimental and computational studies suggest that Na-Cs alloy can replace pure sodium as the anode material, which provides a significant improvement in wettability, particularly at lower temperatures (i.e., <200°C). Single cells with the Na-Cs alloy anode exhibit excellent cycling life over those with pure sodium anode at 175 and 150°C. The cells can even operate at 95°C, which is below the melting temperature of pure sodium. These results demonstrate that NBB can be operated at ultra lower temperatures with successfully solving the wetting issue. This work also suggests a new strategy to use liquid metal as the electrode materials formore » advanced batteries that can avoid the intrinsic safety issues associated with dendrite formation on the anode.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Nature Communications, 5:Article No. 4578
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States