Research has been going on into making batteries using sodium rather than lithium for decades. Back in 2013, we talked about a battery that used sodium and wood. Fast forward to late 2015 and a group of scientists and researchers have now unveiled a prototype sodium-ion (Na-ion) battery that is designed to be used inside laptop computers.
The battery prototype was unveiled by a French network of researchers and industrial firms called RS2E. Specifically the battery is a sodium-ion “18650” battery of a standard format used in laptop computers. The format is important because the 18650 battery standard is very common in uses from laptops up to electric cars like the Tesla Model S.
The 18650 format is a cylinder with a diameter of 1.8 centimeters and a height of 6.5 centimeters. While the battery has been announced, the exact method of constructions is a trade secret. We have no idea what material are used for the electrodes inside.
The designers have given up details on performance though; the battery has 90 watt-hours/kilogram. That makes it comparable to certain lithium-ion batteries on the market. Lifespan is more than 2000 cycles and the researchers believe that these metrics can be improved.