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Low-Cost Batteries from Abundant Resources
British start-up Faradion produces sodium-ion batteries operating on similar principles to other rechargeable batteries. However, the unique cell chemistry results in high performance, enhanced safety, and reduced costs. Compared to more common lithium-ion batteries, the main ingredient in Faradion’s batteries, sodium, is a readily available and naturally abundant resource, offering a sustainable solution for material acquisition.
The reduction in cell costs for sodium-ion compared with lithium-ion batteries is primarily due to the relative abundance of and easy access to sodium versus lithium. Additionally, the high conductivity of the sodium-ion battery, and the ability to use aluminium instead of copper in the cell components, also offers environmental and cost advantages. The first vehicle to be powered by sodium-ion batteries – an e-bike – was demonstrated in May 2015, using Faradion’s technology. Faradion leads a consortium that received $1.9 million to significantly reduce the cost of electric vehicle batteries via cheaper sodium-ion technology.
RELEVANCE OF SOLUTION
The share of electricity generated by renewables is increasing in all industrial countries, but energy storage solutions are needed to better integrate renewables into the grid. However, a forecast predicts that 66% of the cost of storage systems will come from the battery. By reducing battery prices, Faradion’s technology could make solar storage more accessible to a greater number of households and businesses worldwide.
TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE:
Sodium is a readily available and naturally abundant resource, offering a sustainable and safe solution to energy storage, which will help reduce carbon emissions.
The sodium-ion chemistry makes it possible to fully discharge the cells, enabling them to be handled, transported, and stored at zero volts with no risk of hazards like explosions or release of harmful gases.
Using sodium-ion technology as an alternative battery technology offers a 30% reduction in cell costs compared to lithium-ion batteries, based on a laboratory test of Faradion’s technology.