the Natron’s sodium-ion batteries have an exceptional lifespan, practical power density, excellent safety and ultra-fast charging, without using lithium. Through a partnership with Clarios, they will launch full-scale manufacturing in Michigan next year.
According to some experts, the current battery technology is doomed to lithium shortageas most of the global supply chain is owned by China and known reserves of lithium are not sufficient to meet expected demand levels in the electric vehicle market, let alone all the other sectors that want to go too away on drums in the years to come.
So, alternatives will be absolutely essentialwhen its performance characteristics make sense, and sodium-ion battery projects have appeared steadily in recent years, aiming to take a share of the battery market.
Last year, the Chinese company CATL notably launched a sodium-ion battery for the electric vehicle market, with a specific energy of 160 Wh/kg, i.e. more than half the density offered by lithium-ion packs. on a commercial scale.
Californian company Natron opted for a different lens, using a different chemistry based on Prussian blue, a commonly produced pigment best known for providing the blue color that gives blueprints their name, as well as being widely used in prints traditional Japanese. prints, such as The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai.
Battery design is often a trade-off between many factors including thermal performance, power and energy density by weight and volume, safety, charge time and cycle time. Natron claims its design offers a high volumetric power density between that of lead-acid and lithium-ionwith super fast charging that gets you from 0 to 99 charges in just eight minutes, and a monstrous lifespan of more than 50,000 cycles, between five and 25 times that of lithium-ion competitors. They are also said to be extremely thermally stableallowing them to be transported, deployed and disposed of safely without the risk of fire.
It can be assumed that the energy density is relatively low, both in weight and in volume, since Natron does not target this product at manufacturers of electric vehicles, for whom size and weight are fundamental parameters.
In exchange, Natron Targets Industrial Battery Use Cases: backup power for data centers, forklifts and other industrial vehicles, telecommunications installations, etc.
There may also be some applications for electric vehicles, for example as a battery backup in vehicle charging stations, storing energy between slow grid power and fast chargers that pump it into car batteries along the way. as quickly as possible.
Natron has partnered with Clarios International to put these sodium-ion batteries into mass production from 2023 at the Clarios Meadowbrook factory in Michigan.
Currently, these facilities are for lithium-ion batteries, and Natron says its sodium-ion technology can be manufactured on the same equipment, so the partnership allows Natron to bring these batteries to market faster and more cost-effectively than building its own facilities from scratch. . When production starts, Natron says it will be the largest sodium-ion battery factory in the world.
The wide availability of the necessary materials, according to Natron, should lead to a very stable price, which could prove a key advantage over lithium, depending on how supply and geopolitics evolve in the decades to come. to come. See a short presentation below.
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