Energy Daily reports that because lithium deposits are getting thinner and thinner and we will need way more batteries for our electrified future, researchers are trying to use other materials from the same chemical family to replace lithium.
While crab shells were used in the past to make biodegradable zinc-ion batteries, a team at ACS Omega recently started implemented "crab shell carbon" into sodium-ion cells, which could be a more viable alternative.
Compared to lithium ions, sodium ones are larger and can't be used with Li-ion battery anodes, namely the graphite. Instead, sodium-ion batteries rely on hard carbon to function and this material can be obtained from tough crab shells.
To make crab shells feasible for battery use, scientists exposed the food leftovers to temperatures of over 500 degrees Celsius, after which they applied either tin sulfide or iron sulfide to the obtained carbon.
After drying the surface, they were able to form the anodes necessary for the batteries. Two batteries using both composites were tested in a lab and were demonstrated to last at up to 200 charging cycles.
Compared to lithium-ion batteries, this technology isn't as long-lasting, but with time and more technological development, it could become a viable alternative, according to the team of researchers.