May 13, 2022

Natron launches mass production of long-life sodium-ion batteries

Natron’s sodium-ion batteries have enormous battery life, practical power density, excellent safety and ultra-fast charging, without using lithium. Through a partnership with Clarios, they will enter mass manufacturing in Michigan next year.

Current battery technology is headed for a lithium crisis, some experts say, with the vast majority of the global supply chain owned by China and simply not enough lithium in known reserves to meet projected levels of demand. for the electric vehicle market – not to mention all the other sectors that are planning to go battery-powered in the years to come.

Alternatives will therefore be absolutely essential, where their performance characteristics make sense, and sodium-ion battery projects have been popping up regularly for several years that aim to nibble away at small chunks of the battery market. Notably, China’s CATL launched a sodium-ion battery aimed at the electric vehicle market last year, with a specific energy of 160 Wh/kg, more than half the density offered by consumer lithium-ion packs. current.

California-based company Natron chose a different target, using different chemistry based on Prussian blue, a commonly produced pigment best known for providing the blue color that gave the plans their name, as well as being widely used in etchings traditional Japanese woodblocks like those of Hokusai. The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

Natron’s end products are primarily rack-mounted battery systems suitable for use in large data centers, electric vehicle charging stations and other industrial uses.

Natron Energy

Battery design tends to be a compromise between many factors, including thermal performance, energy and power density by weight and volume, safety, charging time, and battery life. Natron claims its design offers a high volumetric power density between that of lead-acid and lithium-ion, with super-fast charging allowing for 0-99 charges in as little as eight minutes, and monster battery life. of more than 50,000 cycles – between five and 25 times more than lithium-ion competitors. They are also said to be extremely thermally stable, making them safe to transport, deploy and dispose of without risk of fire.

We can assume that the energy density is relatively low both in weight and volume – Natron does not offer this product to EV manufacturers where size and weight are critical parameters. Instead, Natron is targeting industrial battery use cases: data center backup power, forklifts and other industrial vehicles, telecommunications facilities, and more. There may also be some EV applications – for example, as a buffer battery at EV charging stations, storing energy between slow grid power and fast chargers that will pump it into car batteries as quickly as possible.

Clarios Meadowbrook Plant in Michigan Set to Become World's Largest Sodium Ion Manufacturing Plant
Clarios Meadowbrook Plant in Michigan Set to Become World’s Largest Sodium Ion Manufacturing Plant

Natron Energy

Natron has partnered with Clarios International to bring these sodium-ion batteries to mass production starting in 2023 at the Clarios Meadowbrook facility in Michigan. It’s currently a lithium-ion battery facility, and Natros says its sodium-ion technology can be made using the same equipment, so the partnership allows Natron to bring these things to market faster and cheaper than building your own facility from scratch. When production begins, Natron says it will be the largest sodium-ion battery plant in the world.

The wide availability of the materials needed, according to Natron, should lead to very stable prices – and this could prove to be a key advantage over lithium depending on what happens with supply and geopolitics in the decades to come. to come. Check out a short presentation below.

Natron High Performance Sodium Battery

Source: Natron Energy