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Sodium ion batteries: all the advantages compared to lithium

Sodium ion batteries: all the advantages compared to lithium

The technology underlying the operation of batteries is constantly evolving, driven by the growing need to identify safe, efficient and eco-sustainable energy storage solutions. The lithium ion batteries, invented by John B. Goodenough, are ubiquitous today. However, they have several disadvantages: especially in terms of environmental impact and progressive exhaustion of the resources to produce them. A crucial turning point could come with sodium ion batterieswhich have proven capable of meeting modern technological challenges.

Sodium ion batteries: what they are and how they work

It’s an American company, Natron Energyto announce that it has reached a historic milestone by announcing the mass production of new sodium ion batteries.

These types of batteries promise a variety of advantages compared to traditional batteries Li-ion. They offer high power density, combined with superior charging speed and extended life cycle. They are also free of materials such as lithium, cobalt, copper, nickel and they are not flammableensuring greater security and stability compared to other technologies.

All features that could meet the growing energy needs, also and above all in the data center sector: here the requirements will be increasingly stringent, with the explosion of artificial intelligence (IA). ARM’s number one, Rene Has, recently did some calculations on the energy consumption that characterize AI applications.

Natron Energy will start production of the new generation of batteries at its newly opened plant in Holland, Michigan (USA).

The factory will produce a total of 600 megawatts of batteries per year and will serve as a model for developing even larger facilities and encouraging large-scale production.

Natron Energy sodium ion battery packs

Prussian blue electrodes and charge-discharge cycles

The Prussian blue electrodes they are devices used in electrochemistry and in some types of sensors. They are made by incorporating the chemical compound Prussian blue (or ferric ferricyanide compound) into a conductive matrix, such as carbon or platinum. Prussian blue is a chemical compound known for its ability to oxidize and reduce reversibly.

Natron sodium batteries use electrodes of this type, patented by Natron. According to the company, they can store and transfer sodium ions faster and with lower internal resistance than any other solution available on the market today.

The chemistry of Natron batteries ensures that during the charging cycles e download there is no significant variation in volume and characteristics within the internal materials. In many batteries, especially lithium-ion batteries, the materials inside the electrodes can undergo changes in size and mechanical stress that can damage the structure of the battery over time, reducing its life and reliability. So much so that Natron engineers say a single battery can handle up to 50,000 cycles of charge-discharge.

A supply chain that excludes increasingly rare and expensive materials

Made from base materials including aluminum, iron, manganese and sodium electrolyte, Natron batteries represent an environmentally and socially responsible alternative to lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries.

As highlighted previously, the supply chain (supply chain) of the new sodium ion batteries does not require the use of lithium, cobalt, nickel or other difficult-to-obtain minerals.

It supported the technology proposed by Natron ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy), US government agency tasked with promoting research and development of innovative, high-impact energy technologies that can contribute to energy security, environmental sustainability and the economic competitiveness of the country.

ARPA-E focuses on strategic and high-potential technological areas: the investment of 19.8 million dollars in the work carried out by Natron is the litmus test of how much it wants to bet on the project. Natron has invested a total of $40 million to upgrade its $300 million manufacturing facility and convert existing production lines from Li-ion to sodium batteries.

Credit images published in the article: Business Wire/Natron Energy.

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