Instantly, everyone seems to be speaking about sodium ion batteries. Why? As a result of China dominates the world marketplace for lithium ion batteries. It controls a lot of the provide and processing. It additionally dominates the marketplace for battery elements, battery cells, battery packs, and every thing else to do with making the batteries for electrical transportation and vitality storage the world so desperately must decrease its carbon emissions.
China doesn’t do issues by half measures. Go massive or go house is its nationwide mindset. Twenty years in the past, the Chinese language noticed a chance to nook the lithium ion battery market. After all, it helped that nobody else was — till Elon Musk and Tesla burst on the scene with the Mannequin S. Throughout the golden age of globalization, most nations — particularly the US — have been solely too glad to let another person construct stuff, then ship it to them in containers through ocean going ships. That’s till Covid got here alongside and upset the free commerce apple cart.
Now sodium is on the point of upend the lithium battery trade and break China’s stranglehold on electrical transportation and battery storage. Why? As a result of it’s low-cost and plentiful. No nation has a lock on the availability of sodium. There may be simply an excessive amount of of it there for the taking. Even higher, sodium ion batteries don’t require different supplies which might be in brief provide — like cobalt, manganese, or nickel.
Northvolt Sodium Ion Battery Announcement
We’ve been listening to stories from China about firms like BYD bringing automobiles powered by sodium ion batteries to marketplace for months. However on November 21, 2023, Northvolt made a shock announcement. It mentioned it had developed a greatest at school sodium ion battery that will enable for the growth of price efficient and sustainable vitality storage methods worldwide. Its sodium ion battery cell has been validated for an vitality density of over 160 watt-hours per kilogram on the firm’s R&D and industrialization campus, Northvolt Labs, in Västerås, Sweden. The corporate has lately introduced it wii assemble a brand new battery manufacturing unit in Canada.
Northvolt’s validated cell is extra secure, cost-effective, and sustainable than typical nickel, manganese and cobalt (NMC) or iron phosphate (LFP) chemistries and is produced with minerals similar to iron and sodium which might be plentiful on world markets. It’s based mostly on a tough carbon anode and a Prussian White-based cathode, and is free from lithium, nickel, cobalt and graphite. Leveraging a breakthrough in battery design and manufacturing, Northvolt plans to be the primary to industrialize Prussian White-based batteries and convey them to industrial markets, the corporate mentioned in its announcement.
Peter Carlsson, CEO and co-founder of Northvolt, mentioned, “The world has put excessive hopes on sodium ion, and I’m more than happy to say that we’ve developed a expertise that may allow its widespread deployment to speed up the vitality transition. It’s an essential milestone for Northvolt’s market proposition, however battery expertise like that is additionally essential to succeed in world sustainability objectives by making electrification extra price environment friendly, sustainable and accessible worldwide.”
The sodium ion expertise, which has been developed along with analysis associate Altris, is meant to offer the muse for Northvolt’s next-generation vitality storage options. The low price and security at excessive temperatures make the expertise particularly engaging for vitality storage options in upcoming markets together with India, the Center East and Africa.
Regionally Sourced Sodium Ion Batteries
Moreover, the expertise could be produced with domestically sourced supplies, offering a singular pathway for growing new regional battery manufacturing capability fully unbiased of conventional battery worth chains. In case you’re questioning, China is the 800 pound gorilla within the room in relation to “conventional battery worth chains” — particularly in relation to graphite for cathodes. That’s why this announcement is inflicting massive grins and excessive fives in boardrooms world wide,
Northvolt’s first era of sodium ion cell is designed primarily for vitality storage, with subsequent generations delivering greater vitality density opening alternatives to allow price environment friendly electrical mobility options. It represents a really perfect complement to Northvolt’s product portfolio, which consists of premium lithium ion battery cells tailor-made for automotive clients and energy-dense lithium-metal battery expertise beneath improvement for aviation and high-performance autos at Cuberg, a Northvolt firm based mostly in San Leandro, USA.
Peter Carlsson added, “Our sodium ion expertise delivers the efficiency required to allow vitality storage with longer period than various battery chemistries at a decrease price, thereby opening new pathways to deploying renewable energy era. The potential of sodium ion on this market alone will make an amazing affect within the drive in the direction of world electrification.”
In an interview with the Monetary Instances, he mentioned in years to come back, cheap and plentiful battery storage may turn into a extra essential enterprise alternative for Northvolt than making batteries for autos. Sodium ion batteries can’t compete by way of vitality density with NMC or LFP batteries however analysis to enhance their efficiency is on going. He estimated that in 10 years’ time the order e-book for vitality storage might be “as massive or probably larger than the present portfolio” of batteries for electrical autos, for which Northvolt has acquired orders of $55 billion.
BYD Indicators Sodium Ion Settlement
Whereas sodium ion batteries have restricted purposes for the transportation sector, their low value could make them splendid for small, low price autos like those which might be so standard in China and different Asian international locations, On November 18, 2023, BYD introduced it’ll associate with Huaihai Holding Group to collectively construct a sodium ion battery manufacturing unit with an annual capability of 30 GWh.
Based on CnEVPost, FinDreams, BYD’s battery making division, and Huaihai signed a deal on November 18 to construct the sodium ion battery manufacturing unit in Xuzhou, Jiangsu province in jap China. The venture, with a deliberate complete funding of RMB 10 billion ($1.4 billion), would be the world’s largest provider of sodium battery methods for micro automobiles, in accordance with the businesses.
It’s the most recent improvement in BYD’s partnership with Huaihai, which signed a strategic cooperation settlement on June 8 to arrange a three way partnership to construct a sodium-ion battery manufacturing base within the Xuzhou Financial and Technological Growth Zone. Huaihai will present its sources together with advertising and marketing and utility eventualities, and FinDreams will present services and products. Based on He Lengthy, CEO of the BYD battery unit, sodium ion battery expertise is maturing and has broad market prospects.
A 12 months in the past, there have been rumors BYD would use sodium ion batteries within the Seagull, a suggestion that was hotly denied by the corporate. None of these rumors have been confirmed, nonetheless, and BYD has not introduced that it has begun to put in sodium ion batteries in any of its fashions.
CnEVPost factors out that lithium carbonate costs have fallen sharply over the previous 12 months and might be probably holding again the event of sodium ion batteries by diminishing their price benefit considerably. That could be an important consideration within the Chinese language market, however for Northvolt and others, breaking freed from the Chinese language dominance of the battery provide chain could also be extra essential than the price of uncooked supplies.
Wehave mentioned many instances that the batteries rhat will energy our autos ten years from now have but to be invented. There may be plenty of hand wringing and wailing that the EV revolution is over and that persons are turning their backs on electrical automobiles, Horse puckey. The EV revolution has simply begun. It might transfer ahead in matches and begins however transfer ahead it’ll. Bulletins like these from Northvolt and BYD will likely be taking place repeatedly because the EV and battery storage revolutions collect power.