Lithium-ion batteries are in every single place. They’re utilized in shopper electronics, electrical automobiles and as repositories for extra renewable vitality like wind and photo voltaic.
However because the world continues to affect, extra battery applied sciences will likely be wanted to satisfy demand. Enter sodium ions.
Sodium-ion batteries have the same design to their lithium-ion counterparts and might be manufactured utilizing associated strategies. Each battery sorts generate electrical energy by a chemical response and are made up of an anode, cathode, separator and an electrolyte.
In a sodium-ion battery, lithium ions are changed with sodium ions within the battery’s cathode, and lithium salts swapped for sodium salts within the electrolyte.
Sodium-ion batteries have been round for many years, however large-scale improvement of the know-how was deserted in favor of lithium-ion batteries. The know-how is now getting a re-assessment.
Pleasure round sodium-ion batteries picked up after the world’s largest EV battery maker, Up to date Amperex Expertise Co. Restricted (CATL), revealed in 2021 that it was investing within the know-how, with plans to determine a primary industrial provide chain by this 12 months.
Sodium-ion batteries cannot present the kind of vary for electrical automobiles provided by lithium-ion batteries, however they do current some distinctive benefits. As an example, the supplies utilized in sodium-ion batteries are usually cheaper than these in lithium-ion batteries.
“It would not use the costly uncooked supplies,” stated James Quinn, CEO of U.Ok.-based sodium-ion battery maker Faradion. “There is no cobalt, there is not any copper, there is not any lithium, there is not any graphite, which is actually primarily managed by China at present.”
Quinn stated sodium-ion batteries are additionally safer since they are often utterly discharged for transportation.
Natron Vitality, primarily based in Silicon Valley, can be working to commercialize sodium-ion battery know-how. Clients embody United Airways and Chevron, which is utilizing Natron’s batteries in EV charging stations.
“Think about pulling into the station. There are a complete bunch of chargers there and all of the automobiles plug in on the identical time,” stated Colin Wessells, CEO and co-founder of Natron. “Now the ability load on the electrical grid is gigantic. It may be actually exhausting for the grid to help all these car chargers concurrently. And so lots of station operators are literally shifting to a mannequin the place they might put huge stationary batteries within the station to offer these pulses of energy to cost the automobiles.”
Watch the video to study extra about how sodium-ion batteries could match into the evolving battery market and the challenges that firms are dealing with in commercializing the know-how.