Nazar Group discovers key reaction mechanism behind the highly touted sodium-oxygen battery

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Chemists at the University of Waterloo have discovered the key reaction that takes place in sodium-air batteries that could pave the way for development of the so-called holy grail of electrochemical energy storage.

Researchers from the Faculty of Science and Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, led by Professor Linda Nazar who holds the Canada Research Chair in Solid State Energy Materialshave described a key mediation pathway that explains why sodium-oxygen batteries are more energy efficient compared with their lithium-oxygen counterparts.

Understanding how sodium–oxygen batteries work has implications for developing the more powerful lithium–oxygen battery, which is seen as the holy grail of electrochemical energy storage.

Their results appear in the journal Nature Chemistry.

Our new understanding brings together a lot of different, disconnected bits of a puzzle that have allowed us to assemble the full picture,” says Nazar, a Chemistry professor in the Faculty of Science. “These findings will change the way we think about non-aqueous metal-oxygen batteries.”

Diagram of how the proton phase catalyst helps make the sodium-oxygen battery work

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