Abu Dhabi has the largest battery in the world. Until now, the battery installed in Australia by Tesla, the Hornsdale battery, was the largest. There is a big difference between the Abu Dhabi battery and the Australian one, the Tesla battery works with lithium cells; while the one in Abu Dhabi is a sodium-sulfur cell battery which is actually ten connected batteries that function as one. The capital of the United Arab Emirates is injecting billions of dollars to become 60% renewable by the next 2050.
This unknown technology was explored in the 1960s by Ford, who tried to include it as a power source for electric trucks. But these batteries need to be heated to 300 degrees to work, which would be a big problem to put in vehicles. Ford sold its idea to the Japanese company NGK, which has continued to study the process together with Tokyo Electric Power.
If we compare lithium batteries with sodium-sulfur batteries, the latter has a much longer useful life. Its cycles of use amount to 4,500, which would mean about 15 years of use, as has been published in the journal Science Direct.
Their efficiency is 85% and they have a response speed of 1 millisecond. But its advantages do not end here, since it does not use lithium or cobalt, elements that are difficult to obtain, its production price is much lower since sodium and sulfur are very abundant elements in nature and, in addition, cheap to obtain.
Sodium sulfur batteries continue to have a major drawback, which is that sodium in the liquid state is very sensitive and can become explosive in the presence of water. Batteries must be completely isolated from the outside environment. In addition, having to heat the elements to such high temperatures, a very robust structure is needed to withstand corrosion, which raises the price of the same.
Currently, batteries are enclosed in metal cases that are protected by different elements. Two types of metal found on the inside to protect it from corrosion, and another on the outside that completely seals the battery and isolates it from the outside.