Adena Power recently contributed time, expertise and materials to a study just published in Energy Storage Materials that demonstrates the feasibility of a new design for a grid energy storage battery built with the low-cost metals sodium and aluminum. The flexible battery design, built from inexpensive Earth-abundant materials such as sodium salts and aluminum wool, could help ease integration of renewable energy into the nation’s electrical grid at lower cost, providing a pathway towards a safer and more scalable stationary energy storage system.
Collaborating with the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Adena Power supplied their patented solid-state, sodium-based electrolyte to PNNL to test the battery’s performance. This crucial battery component allows the sodium ions to travel from negative (anode) to the positive (cathode) side of the battery as it charges.
Neil Kidner, president of Adena Power, co-authored the study. “This research demonstrates that our sodium electrolyte works not only with our patented technology but also with a sodium-aluminum battery design,” he said. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the PNNL researcher team towards advancing sodium battery technology.”
This new design is a variation of a sodium-metal halide battery, which relies on a nickel cathode and has been shown effective at commercial scale. But nickel is relatively expensive and far less Earth-abundant than sodium and aluminum. The recent study shows that the sodium-aluminum battery design eliminates the need for nickel without sacrificing performance, and actually charges more rapidly.
Adena Power’s collaboration with PNNL was recently highlighted in a television news story by KGW8 NBC in Portland, Oregon. You can view the story below.
Because most current battery technologies, including lithium-ion batteries, are best suited for short-term energy storage, the ability to successfully incorporate intermittent renewables like wind and solar power more dynamically into the nation’s electrical grid requires the development of lower-cost, stable, long-duration battery concepts. This new design is especially adept at short- to medium-term grid energy storage, over 12 to 24 hours, providing a promising lab-scale demonstration toward that goal.