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Efficient and Inexpensive Sodium–Magnesium Hybrid Battery

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journal contribution
posted on 10.11.2015 by Marc Walter, Kostiantyn V. Kravchyk, Maria Ibáñez, Maksym V. Kovalenko
We present a hybrid intercalation battery based on a sodium/magnesium (Na/Mg) dual salt electrolyte, metallic magnesium anode, and a cathode based on FeS2 nanocrystals (NCs). Compared to lithium or sodium, metallic magnesium anode is safer due to dendrite-free electroplating and offers extremely high volumetric (3833 mAh cm–3) and gravimetric capacities (2205 mAh g–1). Na-ion cathodes, FeS2 NCs in the present study, may serve as attractive alternatives to Mg-ion cathodes due to the higher voltage of operation and fast, highly reversible insertion of Na-ions. In this proof-of-concept study, electrochemical cycling of the Na/Mg hybrid battery was characterized by high rate capability, high Coulombic efficiency of 99.8%, and high energy density. In particular, with an average discharge voltage of ∼1.1 V and a cathodic capacity of 189 mAh g–1 at a current of 200 mA g–1, the presented Mg/FeS2 hybrid battery delivers energy densities of up to 210 Wh kg–1, comparable to commercial Li-ion batteries and approximately twice as high as state-of-the-art Mg-ion batteries based on Mo6S8 cathodes. Further significant gains in the energy density are expected from the development of Na/Mg electrolytes with a broader electrochemical stability window. Fully based on Earth-abundant elements, hybrid Na–Mg batteries are highly promising for large-scale stationary energy storage.