Scientists in Estonia use peat to make cheap batteries for electric vehicles
Peat, plentiful in bogs in northern Europe, could be used to make sodium-ion batteries cheaply for use in electric vehicles, scientists at an Estonian university say.
Sodium-ion batteries, which do not contain relatively costly lithium, cobalt or nickel, are one of the new technologies that battery makers are looking at as they seek alternatives to the dominant lithium-ion model.
Scientists at Estonia’s Tartu University say they have found a way to use peat in sodium-ion batteries, which reduces the overall cost, although the technology is still in its infancy.
“Peat is a very cheap raw material – it doesn’t cost anything, really,” says Enn Lust, head of the Institute of Chemistry at the university.
The process includes heating decomposed peat to a high temperature in a furnace for 2-3 hours. The university expects the government to fund a small-scale factory in Estonia to try out the technology.