Researchers from Germany’s Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU) and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology recently convened for a three-day discussion on the future of energy storage with a basic assumption: “The quest for post Li‐ion and lithium battery technologies is incorrect in its essence.”
The groups discussed the kind of storage technologies that might be considered solid alternatives to Li‐ion storage, and their conclusion was unequivocal: There is no end in sight for the “post Li‐ion” era.
“After extensive deliberations, the group concluded that the current vibe [!, ed.] about the need of future technologies after the lithium era and, thus, the quest for which new technologies can replace lithium‐based battery technology, are somewhat inappropriate and misleading (partially incorrect), respectively,” the researchers tried to say.
Instead, they have recommended a “side‐by‐side” approach for all storage technologies. They also identified the technologies that they see as more promising for the future.
Sodium‐ion batteries (Na‐Ion), which rely on the same ion storage principle of lithium-ion technologies, are considered an interesting alternative as they could provide an affordable solution, due to potential shortages of lithium and cobalt, or possible price surges. They are also easy to ship and have strong potential for further raw material cost reduction. “Actually, the cost and environmental friendliness of the layered oxide cathode materials proposed so far, appear to be the major advantages of sodium‐ion batteries,” the group stated.
It added that Na‐ion batteries face similar safety issues as Li‐ion batteries in large-scale applications, but development is still limited and not enough is known about failure modes, mechanisms, and analysis at the full cell level. Their use is recommended for stationary energy storage systems and light‐duty vehicles for short‐range transportation.
Redox flow batteries
The main advantages of redox flow storage are the scalability of storage capacity, the ability to operate in most environmental temperatures, and long‐term storage capability. The storage capacity of commercial vanadium redox flow storage systems currently ranges from 4 MWh to 40 MWh, while overall costs are $550/kWh in comparison to more than $200/kWh for Li‐ion. Safety issues are mainly related to hazardous material spillage. The technology could also suffer from the non-homogenous deposition of metal ions, potentially leading to shape change and dendrite growth, high-polarization losses due to sluggish kinetics of the reactions, the corrosion of the electrodes, inefficient electro-catalysts, and the influence of the flow frames.
“Redox flow batteries are expected to outperform Li‐ion only for stationary applications where their key feature of storing the energetic chemicals in external reservoir enables large‐scale, energy storage from renewable sources during peak‐production times and supplying when production falls, the group explained. “At the same time, developments of advanced materials and chemistries are said to be necessary to overcome the limitations of the current concepts and improve the system performances.
The research team, which also analyzed metal air batteries and multivalent metal anode-based storage at the gathering, concluded that lithium-ion battery technologies will remain crucial for many years to come. They said that the search for a post-lithium technology is conceptually incorrect.
“The quest should be for multi‐technologies for different applications, as well as hybridization of technologies,” they explained
The results of the meeting were presented in Side by Side Battery Technologies with Lithium‐Ion Based Batteries, which was recently published in Advanced Energy Materials.
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Li-ion has to be replaced because we don’t have enough nickel, cobalt already being designed out, and there are lots of other couples barely explored.
They’ll likely be just 10-20% in 15 yrs of battery production. LiS will take a big chunk, higher density and less cost.
The only lithium shortage will be refineries as very abundant, we just never looked for it and it is everywhere including in sea water in viable amounts.
New magnesium , sodium, alum, zinc, sulfur, etc couples and metal/air are just the start.
We could do metal/air now if swapped at the effective density of diesel for ships, aircraft, seasonal storage, we really need to push them.
They are why tiny hearing aid, watch batteries last so long as are metal/air either zinc or silver which is a great battery metal far outdoing others, just too costly. .
And they can be reformed/recharged/refined with CSP/solar heat
We’ll need 100x present battery production to switch from FFs to RE, mostly for EVs which will likely become the largest source of storage, on demand power.
Heat and cold storage will be big for efficiency, time shifting.
They along with home, building, factory, etc generation, storage will be the majority of generation, storage in 15 yrs, not utility generation, storage.
Every day something new comes along. Jolt Energy Storage claims an organic redox flow battery with energy density of 80-100 Wh/kg, almost at the energy density of the LiFePO4 battery now in common use for energy storage systems. Is it true? Does this technology last the 20 years claimed by Vanadium redox flow batteries? At scale, this chemistry should be $140/kWh or less if one goes with GW of energy storage in one project. Are there other organic ion pairings that do not need a cell and separator, just a reaction tank and cathode and anode rods to collect the electricity for the load? A one tank mixed ion solution, with one pump to stir the tank to release the ions into the load. A two tank solution with typical cell and membrane with ions exchanging electricity to the load. Are there other organic ion technologies that carry more energy density, perhaps as much as the NMC type batteries around the 250 to 300Wh/kg range? Now you could shrink down organic redox flow batteries to Residential sizes and have that temperature insensitive, non burning long lasting, full discharge storage battery chemistry that would last 20 years.
I think, the sodium ion will potentially have another issue – the sodium of Na-ion is likely to come from NaCl, which will create excess Chlorine as a byproduct. Disposal of this Chlorine might be an environmental issue.
The views of this German-Israeli research-team are simply *their* views – nothing more – nothing less. But how can they possibly know when sodium ion batteries will break through and begin competing with lithium ion ? How do they know how close Chinese or Korean researchers or companies are to producing sodium ion cells ? And they make no mention of those usual powerful vested interests who don’t want to see alternatives to lithium ion batteries. And why is no mention made of next-gen energy-dense supercapacitors from companies like Superdielectrics in the UK ? Who funds this German-Israeli research team ? Do they have a self-serving hidden agenda or motive ?
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