What are Saltwater Batteries?
Saltwater batteries are batteries used to store electricity for future use. These batteries have concentrated saline or saltwater solutions to capture electricity for future use. This stored electricity is later used to power up gadgets that run on electricity.
The saline water comes with sodium ions (a common ingredient in the regular table salt) which carry the electricity and store the electricity.
Saltwater Batteries Advantages
Saltwater batteries come with multiple advantages, including-
1. They are Safe
The best part about saltwater batteries is their safety. This type of battery uses a concentrated solution made from salt and water. Hence, it is not prone to fire-related accidents like other batteries. On top of that, there is no harmful material in them. That means that saltwater batteries are safe for nature, humans, and the other flora and fauna.
2. They have a Better Lifespan
Despite their simple design, the saltwater batteries are extremely durable and long-lasting. A regular saltwater battery lasts for nearly 5000 cycles. But, you can easily use them beyond this cycle safely. That means you do not need to replace the batteries often.
3. Easy to Recycle
Saltwater batteries are also recyclable and reusable. These batteries only contain concentrated sodium saltwater solution. Hence, there is no harmful chemical inside them that can cause any harm to the biosphere or the environment.
That means the recycling procedure for a saltwater battery is simple. On top of that, the parts and components of the batteries can be used again and again for producing new batteries through recycling.
4. It is Maintenance Free
One of the main benefits of using saltwater batteries is their maintenance-free nature. With these batteries, you can get a full discharge of the stored electricity without exhausting or harming the battery. This will not cause the battery to lose its life cycle or efficiency.
Besides that, a single charge can power up the battery for weeks.
The batteries do not require any heavy maintenance other than charging them occasionally. You do not need to use different measures to store them as well.
Hence, on longer runs, a saltwater battery requires less maintenance.
5. Environment Friendly
The saltwater batteries only contain a concentrated sodium salt solution. Hence, it is completely safe for the environment. On top of that, it does not cause any damage to any living being and is environmentally friendly.
Saltwater Batteries Disadvantages
Despite being a great innovation, saltwater batteries also come with some issues and disadvantages like-
1. Limited C-Rate
The C rate of a battery is the amount of current or capacity in which the battery charges and discharges later. The highest C-rate, the better the electronic reserve of a battery. But unfortunately, the Saltwater batteries do not score much in this regard. They only come with a 0.5 C-rate, which is very low.
On top of that, these batteries can discharge only 50% of their electricity reserve for a single charge.
That means the saltwater batteries are not enough to supply a large amount of electricity for a shorter span.
2. Lower Energy Density
Due to their low C-rate, saltwater batteries can only store a limited amount of energy. In other words, if you compare one saltwater battery and a lithium-ion battery of the same size, the saltwater battery will store less electricity than the latter variant.
The lower energy density often requires bigger-sized batteries, which can be an issue if you have limited space. Hence, saltwater batteries may not be ideal for some situations.
3. Higher Cost
The saltwater batteries are quite expensive. These batteries require a lot of money to manufacture. Hence, the budget can be a disadvantage for individual users.
Structure and Function
Here is brief information on the structure and functionalities of saltwater batteries-
You will find saltwater batteries in rectangular boxes. The outer cover is a non-toxic and environmentally-friendly material that can contain the concentrated saline solution for a long time. The outer cover is made with non-toxic plastic.
The battery cell is made with stainless steel. It works as a current collection and holds the saltwater solution. The cathode is made with Manganese Oxide, and the anode is made with Carbon titanium phosphate. It also contains a separating fleece or synthetic divider that keeps the electrolytes separated.
A saltwater battery has a fairly simple charging mechanism. When connected to the electricity ports (anode and cathode), the electricity energy initiates the electrolysis of the concentrated saltwater solution, resulting in a high amount of sodium ions. The sodium ions migrate from the cathode to the anode, and during this journey, they store the electricity in the anode.
The discharging mechanism starts when you connect the battery with some electronic gadget. The sodium ions start to move towards the cathode, and during this process, the electrical energy flows through the battery and powers up the gadget.
Saltwater Batteries Commercialization & the Future
Despite their limitations, saltwater batteries have excellent potential for the future. But, experts are still researching to find more sustainable ways to commercialize saltwater batteries for mass use.
Researchers worldwide are trying to improve the C-rate to ensure the batteries can offer better electric reserve in the long run. On top of that, the size issue also needs to be resolved. One of the main disadvantages of saltwater batteries is their large size. The batteries need to be portable, making them convenient for use.
Since these batteries are sustainable, they are great for the environment and our earth. Hence, if saltwater batteries can be mass-produced, they can be a great alternative to conventional lithium-ion batteries.
Saltwater batteries are sustainable, environment friendly, and a great energy provider. These simple batteries use only concentrated sodium solutions to charge and discharge electricity. If you are looking forward to knowing more about the state batteries, this article can help you.