When electric vehicles come of age, the demand for lithium is also expected to be high. But lithium is a very rare element as it is available only in limited places like China and Australia. Consequently, batteries will be expensive and meager in supply.
Researchers at the Tokyo University of Science have come out with a unique idea to overcome these drawbacks. They consider sugar as the source for better and cheaper rechargeable batteries.
In battery technology, the only potential replacement for lithium-ion is sodium-ion. Pyrolyzing sucrose, the main ingredient in sugar, is rich in hard carbon.
Hard carbon can be an effective anode base for sodium-ion batteries. The team heated sucrose under a temperature between 1,000 to 15,000 degrees in an oxygen-free oven.
After this process, which is known as pyrolysis, it turns in to hard black carbon powder. Though the researchers think that the results are welcoming, it is expected to take five years to make it practical. Sodium-ion batteries can be more durable and cheaper to manufacture.
With improved technology and performance, they hope that the batteries will have the capacity to replace lithium-ion batteries with sodium-ion batteries. The supply of sodium is abundant. These batteries can be made by using iron, aluminum, and sodium, instead of cobalt or copper as before.