Sodium-ion batteries: present and future
Energy production and storage technologies have attracted a great deal of attention for day-to-day applications. In recent decades, advances in lithium-ion battery (LIB) technology have improved living conditions around the globe. LIBs are used in most mobile electronic devices as well as in zero-emission electronic vehicles. However, there are increasing concerns regarding load leveling of renewable energy sources and the smart grid as well as the sustainability of lithium sources due to their limited availability and consequent expected price increase. Therefore, whether LIBs alone can satisfy the rising demand for small- and/or mid-to-large-format energy storage applications remains unclear. To mitigate these issues, recent research has focused on alternative energy storage systems. Sodium-ion batteries (SIBs) are considered as the best candidate power sources because sodium is widely available and exhibits similar chemistry to that of LIBs; therefore, SIBs are promising next-generation alternatives. Recently, sodiated layer transition metal oxides, phosphates and organic compounds have been introduced as cathode materials for SIBs. Simultaneously, recent developments have been facilitated by the use of select carbonaceous materials, transition metal oxides (or sulfides), and intermetallic and organic compounds as anodes for SIBs. Apart from electrode materials, suitable electrolytes, additives, and binders are equally important for the development of practical SIBs. Despite developments in electrode materials and other components, there remain several challenges, including cell design and electrode balancing, in the application of sodium ion cells. In this article, we summarize and discuss current research on materials and propose future directions for SIBs. This will provide important insights into scientific and practical issues in the development of SIBs.