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Beyond Li-ion batteries: performance, materials diversification, and sustainability.
Global recognition of the need to diversify energy storage in accordance with sustainability is driving the development of beyond Li-ion batteries.
However, the transition toward a truly sustainable energy industry necessitates informed cradle-to-cradle cost, performance, and environmental assessments together with introduction of long-term international legislation and concerted action from all stakeholders along the battery chain.
Batteries will play a significant role in reaching the global target of carbon neutrality by 2050. However, Li-ion batteries (LIBs), the current dominant technology, face increasing scrutiny over their dependence on critical materials such as Co and graphite, and their associated socio-environmental impacts.
Although LIBs will still be necessary for certain applications, the future energy landscape requires greater diversification of storage chemistries that can deliver higher energy, longer lifetimes, faster charging, and greater safety in an economical and sustainable manner.
Extensive research has focused on alternatives to traditional cathode materials: for example, Li-S and Li-O2; all-solid-state configurations; substitution of Li for other alkali metals, Na and K; and multivalent-ion batteries (MVIBs) based on Mg, Ca, Al, or Zn1 .
Progress across these chemistries varies: MVIBs and Li-O2 are in the early stage of development, whereas the most advanced sodium-ion batteries (NIBs) are the focus of several manufacturers; indeed, CATL, Tesla’s primary battery supplier, intends to begin industrializing its technology on a large scale by 2023.