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Chemists discover key reaction in sodium- oxygen batteries

By on Jun 15, 2015 in Electric Vehicles |

This article is courtesy of ChargedEVs

Chemists at Canada’s University of Waterloo have described a key mediation pathway that explains why sodium-oxygen batteries are more energy-efficient compared with their lithium-oxygen counterparts.

“Our new understanding brings together a lot of different, disconnected bits of a puzzle that have allowed us to assemble the full picture,” says Professor Linda Nazar. “These findings will change the way we think about non-aqueous metal-oxygen batteries.” Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 12.54.20 PM

In a paper published in the journal Nature Chemistry, Nazar and her colleagues describe their discovery of the so-called proton phase transfer catalyst. By isolating its role in the battery’s discharge and recharge reactions, they were able to boost the battery’s capacity, and achieve a near-perfect recharge of the cell.

Unlike the traditional solid-state battery design, a metal-oxygen battery uses a gas cathode that combines oxygen with a metal such as sodium or lithium to form a metal oxide, storing electrons in the process. Applying an electric current reverses the reaction and returns the metal to its original form.

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