Over the last two decades Li-ion technology has dominated the secondary battery market and is now widely used in consumer electronics and the automotive sector. Sodium-ion technology is an attractive alternative which offers several commercial advantages, including lower costs and improved safety characteristics. Recent advances in materials which can reversibly cycle sodium ions have made the possibility of Na-ion batteries a reality. The amount of energy generated by renewable sources, such as solar and wind, is increasing and energy stores will become essential to ensure continuity of supply – an application to which Na-ion technology is ideally suited. The techniques and equipment used in the production of Na-ion materials and cells are the same as those for Li-ion, allowing manufacturers to simply convert existing production lines without significant costs or downtime.
Sodium-ion technology is similar to lithium-ion technology:
- Availability and Cost: By using highly abundant sodium salts rather than lithium, it is expected that sodium-ion batteries will be around 30% cheaper to produce than conventional lithium-ion cells. This could dramatically reduce the cost of electric vehicles.
- Energy density: Na-ion cells has energy densities similar to those of conventional Li-ion materials
- Power: Initial electrochemical tests have shown that the rate capabilities can be as good as Li-ion materials
- Safety: Safer materials (improved thermal stability) and improved transport safety
- Cycle life: Preliminary cell testing has shown excellent cycle life in many of Faradion’s novel materials
- Shelf life: Preliminary analysis indicates similar shelf life to currently available Li-ion materials