Sparc pushes ahead with sodium ion battery R&D

A lab researcher holding a full-cell sodium-ion battery pouch (sparc)
A researcher holding a full-cell sodium-ion battery pouch

Sparc Technologies will boost its R&D for sodium ion batteries after a second round of positive results from tests conducted as part of its project with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) targeting development of sustainably sourced hard carbon anode material for sodium ion batteries (SIBs).

Related article: Sparc reveals ‘exceptional’ sodium ion battery results

QUT has delivered a second project milestone report which primarily describes the results of SIB half-cell battery testing and material characterisation for multiple samples of the chosen bio-waste material against a commercial benchmark. Electrochemical testing confirms consistently high reversible capacities and ongoing improvements in initial coulombic efficiencies (ICE) for the bio-waste derived anodes using the new processing method under development. These results have been benchmarked against commercial hard carbon materials under the same testing procedure.

Improving the capacity of hard carbon anodes is considered to be important for increasing the overall energy density of sodium-ion batteries, which is a key limitation to widespread use in mobility applications such as electric vehicles currently. Given the continuation of positive capacity results, Sparc is planning to accelerate its research and development in this area targeting further optimisation of process parameters and testing to demonstrate a broader suite of battery characteristics. Sparc is also in the process of completing a techno-economic analysis and is conducting testing of the hard carbon materials at an external laboratory.

Sparc Technologies executive chairman Stephen Hunt said, “Sparc is extremely pleased with these results from its research with QUT into the development of sustainable hard carbon anode materials for sodium ion batteries. The feedstock and process is demonstrating high capacity anode material which, subject to further testing and results, holds the potential to improve the energy density and carbon footprint of sodium-ion batteries.

Related article: Sparc tests photocatalytic water splitting reactor at CSIRO

“Sparc continues to see momentum building behind sodium-ion batteries as an alternative battery chemistry, driven by raw material availability and cost, and we remain well positioned as one of the only ASX listed companies actively targeting this growing field.”

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