The growing interest in sustainable next-generation battery technology underscores an opportunity for the UK to take a leading role in this industry,
Sodium-ion batteries offer the UK an opportunity to take a lead in sustainable battery market
The Faraday Institution has released a report "Sodium-ion Batteries: Inexpensive and Sustainable Energy Storage" which informs that sodium-ion batteries are an emerging battery technology with promising cost, safety, sustainability and performance advantages over current commercialised lithium-ion batteries.
Faradion, a UK based company and a world leader in the field, welcomes the report as well as the announcement from Chinese battery manufacturer CATL that it will start manufacturing sodium-ion batteries later this year. The announcement underscores the importance of sodium-ion technology as an integral part of a world beyond lithium.
Over the last few months, Faradion has announced a technical collaboration to develop lower-cost and higher-performing anode materials for sodium-ion batteries with Texas-based Phillips 66, a licensing deal with British AMTE Power, its first commercial order from ICM Australia, as well as partnerships in India. In fact, the company's comprehensive intellectual property portfolio comprises 30 patent families focusing on cell materials, cell infrastructure, pack design, safety and transportation.
Faradion CEO James Quinn said, "This is a necessary transition: lithium-ion batteries used predominantly in EVs contain lithium, cobalt and copper, and in stationary energy storage lithium and copper. These are expensive raw materials and their mining leads to adverse environmental impacts. Lithium has also become constrained due to restricted availability and increased prices.
According to the Faraday Institution report key advantages include the use of widely available and inexpensive raw materials and a rapidly scalable technology based around existing lithium-ion production methods. These properties make sodium-ion batteries especially important in meeting global demand for carbon-neutral energy storage solutions.
Sheffield- based Faradion is commercialising sodium-ion technology which provides similar performance to conventional lithium chemistries while avoiding use of expensive materials such as cobalt and replacing lithium with the more sustainable and abundant sodium while giving better safety and thermal stability. Faradion's proprietary technology delivers leading-edge, cost effective solutions for a broad range of applications, including mobility, energy storage, back-up power and energy in remote locations.
"Our batteries already boast performance as good as Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries at 150-160 Wh/kg. Sodium is one of the most abundant elements in the world, and not only are sodium-ion batteries more sustainable than Lithium, but they will be lower cost and safer."
The growing interest in sustainable next-generation battery technology underscores an opportunity for the UK to take a leading role in this industry, stresses Quinn. "It could establish large-scale domestic manufacturing with additional economic benefits also from downstream applications. This should give UK companies a foot-in-the-door of the international battery market, opening up substantial new markets, generating jobs and significant economic value for the UK."