“The competition of sodium batteries versus lithium batteries”

“The competition of sodium batteries versus lithium batteries”
“The competition of sodium batteries versus lithium batteries”

The race for the best battery is still on, and competitors for lithium-ion technology abound. Not all are the same, and it is doubtful that any will be able to dethrone lithium-ion, but the market may be large enough for more than one technology.

The advantages and disadvantages of lithium-ion batteries

Lithium-ion has been the dominant rechargeable battery technology for years, and there’s good reason for that. Lithium-ion batteries are compact, charge relatively quickly, and are long-lasting unless they are in an electric vehicle that gets into an accident and the battery catches fire. However, lithium batteries also have some defects, in addition to being a fire risk. Most have to do with the origin of some materials, such as cobalt, and the need for the metal that gives batteries their name: lithium.

Sodium cells as a contender for lithium-ion batteries

In contrast, sodium batteries do not require cobalt, sourced from artisanal mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or lithium, whose extraction requires so many resources that some question their ecological credentials. These sodium batteries are becoming the leading contender for lithium-ion technology.

Korean innovation in sodium batteries

In recent days there have been two developments in this field. According to Oilprice, one of them comes from South Korea, where researchers have managed to design a sodium battery that can be charged in seconds. Korean researchers have managed to design a sodium battery that can be charged in seconds. Charging time is one of the main drawbacks of lithium-ion technology for electric vehicles, so the news is potentially huge, especially since researchers say their battery also rivals the energy density of ion batteries. of lithium, and with its power density.

The reality of sodium batteries on the market

However, it is early to retire lithium-ion, because until the technology leaves the laboratory and demonstrates its benefits at scale, it will be nothing more than a theoretical contender for the title of top battery technology. Now, an American company claims to have gone from theory to reality with its sodium battery.

Natron Energy’s focus on sodium batteries

California-based battery maker Natron Energy announced this week the start of commercial production at its Holland, Michigan battery factory. The factory will produce sodium batteries that the company says offer “higher power, faster recharging, longer cycle life, and completely safe and stable chemistry.” Faster charge and discharge times are one of the biggest advantages of sodium batteries over their lithium rivals. The speed of discharge makes them especially suitable for wind and solar energy storage systems, to release their charge in the event of a blackout or peak demand.

The challenge of energy density in sodium batteries

But there is the problem of energy density, that is, how much electricity a device can contain, which in sodium batteries tends to be substantially less than in lithium-ion batteries. As this happens, sodium batteries could be the most in-demand in the battery storage sector, and it seems that is what Natron Energy is focusing on.

The impact of sodium batteries in the data center sector

More specifically, it is focusing on data centers, which are increasingly seen as a massive driver of additional electricity demand in the coming years, as everyone moves to AI in the IT sector. information. According to BloombergNEF, sodium batteries will represent 12% of the battery storage market by 2030.

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