Sodium-air batteries could replace lithium-air as the battery of the future

By James Plafke on March 1, 2013 at 3:35 pm

The world of hardware reshapes itself as fast as it ever has nowadays. Pocket computers exponentially increase in power seemingly every few months, while our laptops can now fold completely in half and masquerade as a tablet. However, as far as hardware ever reaches, batteries always seem so stagnant. Now, though, promising research into sodium-air batteries could lead toward the battery revolution we’ve all been waiting for.

Aside from, for example, standard AA or AAA batteries, lithium-ion batteries are the go-to power source for our most prized mobile devices. They are rechargeable, and last an acceptable amount of time before cutting out right in the middle of an important phone call. Though our smartphones and tablets have an acceptable lifetime, sometimes you accept what you’re given rather than what you actually want. An iPhone 5 can last around 8 hours of 3G, LTE data use or talk time, or for 10 hours of video playback, or 40 hours of audio playback.

When you’re using some combination of all those features — as anyone with a smartphone and a long commute is fully aware — the phone’s battery life is woefully short. Because of the way a lithium-ion battery generates power — through chemical reactions — the amount of power generated has a ceiling. This means that at some point, a lithium-ion battery will be giving literally the maximum amount of power it can. A ceiling means that, eventually, our devices will require more power than the battery can give.

Read more: Sodium-air batteries could replace lithium-air as the battery of the future | ExtremeTech.

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