Sodium-ion batteries: an ecological and affordable lithium alternative for electric cars-digital, the sodium-ion battery fleet should grow to reach 10 GWh by 2025-PV Magazine France

The sodium-ion battery fleet should grow to reach 10 GWh by 2025

Image: Idtechex

Sodium-ion batteries: an ecological and affordable lithium alternative for electric cars

Energy is a constantly evolving sector, driven by a growing demand for sustainable and effective solutions. Among the different developing energy storage technologies, sodium-ion batteries are particularly promising. They could constitute a viable alternative to lithium-ion batteries.

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A sodium-ion battery, as is a lithium-ion battery, is a rechargeable battery. It works using sodium ions to store electrical energy. Sodium, like lithium, is one of the alkaline metals, with similar properties. Thus, in a sodium battery, the ions circulate between the cathode and the anode during the load and the discharge, generating electricity in the same way as a lithium battery.

The advantages of sodium-ion batteries

One of the major advantages of sodium-ion batteries is the abundance of sodium. This is the sixth most abundant material on the planet, which makes it less rare and less expensive than lithium. In addition, sodium is widely distributed around the world, which makes it more accessible and reduces the risk of geopolitical conflicts linked to its extraction.

The extraction and treatment of sodium are less expensive and more respectful of the environment than those of lithium. This helps reduce the ecological footprint of batteries.

An energy density lower than lithium

Energy density is a key measure for batteries, which represents the amount of energy that a battery can store for a given mass (Wh/Kg). In July 2021, the manufacturer of Chinese batteries CATL, which holds 30 % of the world battery market, presented a new sodium-ion battery which has not only better recharge capacity, but also improved thermal stability. However, the energy density of this battery remains limited to 160 Wh/kg, which is less than 285 Wh/kg typical of a lithium-ion battery. Nevertheless, Catl made the ambitious promise that the energy density of its sodium batteries would soon reach 200 Wh/kg.

Sodium-ion batteries for urban mobility and renewable energy storage

Due to their energy density, sodium batteries could be ideal for short distance urban journeys, up to approximately 200 kilometers. The car manufacturers are trying to develop sodium batteries offering autonomy comparable to that of LFT batteries (Lithium-Fer-Phosphate).

In addition, sodium-ion batteries have considerable potential for the storage of renewable energies. They could play a key role in the storage of energy produced by renewable sources, such as solar or wind, allowing a more effective use of these energies and facilitating transition to a low -carbon economy.

Perspectives

Despite current challenges, scientific and technological advances could help overcome these obstacles. Researchers work to improve the lifespan and safety of sodium-ion batteries, as well as to increase their energy density. Given their abundance, their low environmental impact, and their potential for urban mobility and the storage of renewable energies, sodium-ion batteries are a promising area for the future of energy storage.

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The sodium-ion battery fleet should grow to reach 10 GWh by 2025

According to Idtechex, a market study company installed in the United Kingdom, global demand in Sodium-ion battery should grow to settle just below 70 GWh in 2033, against 10 GWh in 2025, or a rate of Average annual growth (CAGR) of 27 %.

Sodium-ion batteries have an energy density at least 30 % less than that of lithium-ion batteries.

Image: Idtechex

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Although it is still stammering, sodium-ion technology is a viable alternative to lithium-ion batteries. Less expensive raw materials, increased security and better characteristics in terms of sustainable development: sodium-ion promises to alleviate the pressure on lithium-ion supply chains.

While the marketing efforts for sodium-ion batteries are intensifying worldwide, Idtechex plans that, by 2025, around 10 GWh of sodium-ion batteries will be installed, as significant manufacturing capacities are place and that the lithium-ion manufacturing lines are converted to sodium-ion.

With CAGR of 27 %, the market study company installed in the United Kingdom provides that sodium-ion is gaining momentum to settle just below 70 GWh in 2033. “There may be a faster than expected growth potential when technology is reliable, qualified, profitable and available,” added the latter.

The previous forecasts of Wood Mackenzie are more timid. According to the Scottish design firm held by Americans, sodium-ion batteries should be called upon to replace part of the lithium-fer-phosphate (LFP) in electric transport vehicles and energy storage , to reach 20 GWh by 2030 in the reference scenario.

Currently, production is essentially limited to pilot factories, while a handful of smaller factories are going. However, according to Idtechex calculations, “the capacities announced publicly by various producers of raw materials alone exceed 100 GWh over the next three years”.

In his latest report, Idtechex claims to have listed nearly 15 companies that develop their own NA-ion battery technology. She also analyzed patents and observed that China, once again, is in the lead.

Thus, the truck of the CATL battery sector deployed its first generation sodium-ion battery in 2021, which displays an energy density of 160 Wh/kg, and promises a 200 WH/kg increase. Earlier this year, he confirmed that Chinese Chery will be the first car manufacturer to use its sodium-ion battery technology.

Hina Battery, created in 2017 from the Institute of Physics of Chinese Academy of Sciences, was the world’s leading company to increase to a sodium-ion battery production line of the order of Gigawatt Heure last year. She also unveiled projects to extend her capacities to 5 GWh.

Last week, Findreams, the BYD subsidiary, announced to establish a partnership with the Huaihai Holding Group to launch the production of sodium-ion batteries in the economic and technological development zone of Xuzhou, in the province of Jiangsu. In a press release, companies said the joint venture would be the largest supplier in the world of sodium-ion batteries for mini and micro vehicles.

Until now, sodium-ion batteries have mainly been used for two electric wheels and storage of fixed energy, due to their lower energy density compared to lithium-ion batteries. The sodium-ion battery is also three times heavier than its lithium counterpart and has a lower oxydo-reduction potential, resulting in an energy density at least 30 % lower.

Although sodium-ion batteries are between 20 and 40 % cheaper, the difficulty lies in carrying technology on a large scale. Thus, it is unlikely that important savings can be made compared to lithium-ion batteries, at least at the start.

According to the study conducted by Idtechex, the average cost of a cell intended for NA-ion batteries (sodium-ion) is € 77/kW, if we take into account different chemical compositions. By the end of the decade, the cost of production of NA-ion battery cells mainly using iron and manganese could well reach its lowest level at 35 €/kW, or around 44 €/kW at the level of the block Battery according to business calculations.

Translation provided by Christelle TAUREAU.

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Marija has Years of Experience in A News Agency Environment and Writing for Print and Online Publications. She Took Over As the Editor of Pv Magazine Australia in 2018 and helpdestah its online presence over a Two-Year Period.
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