A group of researchers from the Saint Petersburg University (SPBU) has discovered in the Kamchatka peninsula (Russia), a new mineral, the Petrovita. The new substance is characterized by having a deep blue color and be composed of a structure that would make it ideal for batteries.

The Petrovite, named after a famous professor at the named University of Saint Petersburg, has been discovered in a large volcanic massif in eastern Russia, at the top of the Tolbachik volcano, according to the estudio that has been published in the magazine Mineralogical Magazine.

Features and use for batteries

Its chemical formula is Na10CaCu2 (SO4) 8, and it occurs as globular aggregates of table-shaped crystals up to 0.2 mm in maximum dimension, generally with gaseous inclusions.

Never before documented by researchers, the mineral is characterized by having a crystallized greenish blue color surely due to the volcanic precipitations.

The main characteristic of petrovite is that the atoms of oxygen, sulfur, sodium and copper, which compose it, form a kind of network impregnated with voids and channels.

“These channels allow relatively small sodium atoms to move freely. Therefore, we assume that Petrovita can be used for produce sodium ion batteries, a more economical and efficient replacement for existing lithium batteries “explains Stanislav Filatov, professor at the University of Saint Petersburg and head of the scientific group

Discovery place

The Petrovita has been found on top of Tolbachik, a large volcanic massif in eastern Russia. “Tolbachik is a real factory for the production of new minerals unknown to science. In Europe, for example, only Vesuvius can be compared to it, “says Filatov.

The new substance could be found after the last volcanic eruption in 2012, which lasted almost a year. After that date, the researchers were able to begin studying the area, known for the number of cracks that exist in it.