Hard carbons have immense potential as anode materials for Na-ion batteries, because the expanded graphene interlayers and nanovoids between randomly stacked aromatic fragments can accommodate a substantial amount of sodium. However, the large irreversible capacity in the first cycle still remains as a significant issue in terms of a practicable battery technology. Here, we show that hard carbon electrodes derived from a common phenol resin deliver a high reversible capacity within the narrow potential range of 0.1-0.005V (vs. Na+/Na) and an excellent initial coulombic efficiency up to 95%. The former allows the sustainable high voltage, whereas the latter minimizes the amount of unavailable Na+ in a closed cell. The findings in this work put forward a guideline for manufacturing hard carbon electrodes, which goes against the current trend of nanostructuring and downsizing. It's got potential: Carbon electrodes derived from a phenol resin for Na-ion batteries show potential profiles just like those of Li-ion intercalation/extraction into/from graphite. The high reversible capacity and the excellent initial coulombic efficiency well above 90% have great potential for a practical use.
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