Most of today’s gadgets are powered by lithium-ion batteries. While they are incredibly efficient and also rechargeable, they come with an array of disadvantages, including soaring prices and proper disposal. Consequently, a team of nine scientists from South Korea’s Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has come up with a new and innovative battery running on seawater.
An easily accessible and abundant natural resource, seawater offers a new way of powering your devices, such as smartphones, laptops, cameras and so on. The contraption, according to the researchers, is a sodium oxygen battery. Also known as sodium-air battery, it is a lot cheaper and more cost-effective than commonly-available lithium-ion varieties.
In this setup, seawater functions as an efficient catholyte, which is basically a combination of cathode and electrolyte. Compared to a standard lithium-ion battery that has a discharge voltage of about 3.6 to 4 volts, the newly-devised seawater battery boasts an average discharge voltage of approximately 2.7 volts. Speaking about the research, recently published in ACS’ Applied Materials & Interfaces journal, team said:
A constant flow of seawater into and out of the battery provides the sodium ions and water responsible for producing a charge.
The scientists are currently trying to improve the battery’s efficiency even further, while also working out some of the problems in its design. Once available commercially, the technology could help reduce our dependence on lithium-ion batteries.
Source: American Chemical Society