The increasing use of renewable energy and the electrification of our society are creating a huge need for batteries to store electrical energy. New battery concepts are necessary to prevent depletion of the earth’s mineral resources. Therefore, Åbo Akademi University in Turku (Finland) has launched the SUSTEC-project in which it combines 3D-printing technology with renewable materials with high-temperature technology. So says the university in a press release.

The plan is to replace lithium in the cathode with sodium and the graphite in the anode with a wood-based carbon-based material. Because sodium is abundant, unlike lithium: it must be extracted by mining, for example. We can very easily just extract sodium from our seawater.

“The energy density of a sodium battery is slightly lower than that of a lithium battery, so we do not expect the new generation of batteries to be more effective. Our fundamental goal is to make batteries more sustainable than before. The project is a relevant contribution to global research. It has several unique aspects and it is a new, important opening for battery research at Åbo Akademi University,” says Johan Bobacka, professor of analytical chemistry at the Laboratory for Molecular Science and Engineering at Åbo Akademi Unversity.

Wood-based materials

Furthermore, the researchers want to make a solid electrolyte into which the electrodes are incorporated. To develop components for the new batteries, the researchers will apply 3D printing technology and wood-based materials.

“What is unique about our project is that we are trying to use bio-based materials to create the right properties for the solid electrolyte,” said Chunlin Xu, professor of Chemistry of Renewable Materials at Åbo Akademi University’s Natural Materials Technology Laboratory.

Read the complete press release here.

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