#1-First of All Figure Out a Concept, What Kind of Battery Is a Sodium Ion Battery?
Sodium-ion batteries appeared almost simultaneously with lithium-ion batteries and were invented in the 1970s. It was only later that lithium-ion batteries were widely used and became famous. Sodium ions are rarely used, rarely used, and gradually ignored. It is the same as the lithium ion battery, except that the sodium ion battery relies on the movement of sodium ions between the positive and negative electrodes.
Lithium, sodium, and potassium belong to the alkali metal elements of group IA of the periodic table, and have similarities in physical and chemical properties. In theory, they can all be used as metal ion carriers for secondary batteries. Lithium has a smaller ion radius, a higher standard potential, and a much higher specific capacity than sodium and potassium, so it has been used earlier and more widely in secondary batteries. However, sodium batteries have shortcomings such as low battery capacity and short cycle life because the quality of sodium ions is three times larger than that of lithium ions. With the soaring price of lithium in lithium-ion batteries, people have turned their vision back to sodium-ion batteries.
Sodium-ion batteries are still more experimental in nature, and the upstream and downstream industrial chain system as mature as lithium-ion batteries has not been established. The entire industrialization is still in the early stage of development. The current sodium-ion battery has not formed a mature production method and has not reached the scale effect, resulting in a high total production cost. Unless the country and enterprises vigorously develop and promote it, after the entire industrial chain is developed and perfected, The cost advantage can be revealed.
#2-What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Sodium Ion Batteries vs Lithium Ion Batteries?
Both sodium ion batteries and lithium batteries have been developed for many years. The main advantages are low cost (in theory, the BOM cost of sodium batteries is 20% lower than that of lithium batteries, and can be lower than lithium iron phosphate), excellent high and low temperature performance, High safety and fast charging capability.
The main disadvantage is that the energy density is lower than that of existing lithium batteries, and there is an obvious ceiling. Experts believe that there is no major breakthrough in the academia of sodium ion batteries, and it is basically impossible to break through the current 3c and power system, but it can be used in other special application scenarios such as low-speed vehicles or energy storage.
The energy density of the first-generation sodium-ion battery released by China’s CATL is about 160Wh/kg, which is lower than that of lithium iron phosphate batteries; even for next-generation products, it is expected to only reach 200Wh/kg, which is almost the same as lithium iron phosphate batteries. . However, current electric vehicles have higher energy density requirements for power batteries, so the use of sodium-ion batteries is mainly inclined to low-speed electric vehicles and energy storage fields that do not require high energy density.
#3-What Are the Specific Advantages of Sodium Ion Batteries?
The three elements of lithium, cobalt, and nickel seem to be the throat of the lithium battery industry. Whoever controls the minerals has the right to speak; if you can’t control these minerals, you may be stuck. Lithium-ion batteries are used to store electrical energy in the world, which is not enough. Looking at the mineral resources required by sodium-ion batteries, the abundance of sodium in the crust reaches 2.74%, which is more than 400 times that of lithium. The resource reserves are abundant and widely distributed. After all, Where there is sea water, there is sodium chloride. Furthermore, the positive electrode of sodium ion battery does not need to use rare and precious metals such as cobalt and nickel, which reduces the trouble of resource constraints.
Material costs account for the bulk of battery costs. With the rapid growth of demand for lithium batteries in electric vehicles, energy storage and other fields, lithium resources are becoming more and more tight, and the price of lithium salt will rise. The price of battery-grade lithium carbonate more than doubled last year. But sodium salt is much cheaper than lithium salt, and sodium ion batteries can use rare precious metals such as cobalt and nickel, and aluminum foil, which is cheaper than copper foil, can be used as the current collector. The material cost is expected to be 30-40% lower than that of lithium ion batteries. .
In addition, because the working principle and battery structure of sodium-ion batteries are similar to those of lithium-ion batteries, the production line design of lithium-ion batteries can be used to produce sodium-ion batteries with slight adjustments.
At present, sodium-ion batteries are still in the initial stage of industrialization. Some research institutions believe that the current industrial process of sodium-ion batteries is equivalent to that of lithium-ion batteries in 2013-2014. The imperfect industrial chain and the lack of scale effect are the reasons why the price advantage of sodium-ion batteries is not obvious. But if more companies participate in the future, the cost advantage of sodium-ion batteries will definitely be more fully reflected in the price.
The safety performance of sodium ion batteries is good, which is reflected in the testing process. The performance is that it can achieve no fire or explosion during the safety test of acupuncture, extrusion, overcharging, overdischarging, etc.; and in the transportation process, it can achieve 0V. Transportation, reduce the safety risk of battery transportation.
Lithium-ion batteries use copper foil as the negative electrode current collector. When the voltage is low, the copper foil is easily oxidized, leading to degradation of battery performance and battery failure. In order to avoid this kind of problem, the lithium ion is generally charged to more than 80% before transportation. Compared with low-power batteries, high-power batteries have a higher transportation risk.
The sodium ion battery uses aluminum foil with better stability as the negative electrode current collector, so there is no need to worry about battery performance degradation and failure due to low voltage. Therefore, the battery can be completely emptied before transportation to ensure transportation safety without affecting subsequent battery performance.
#4-What Are the Main Application Scenarios of Sodium Ion Batteries?
From the performance comparison of lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries, and sodium-ion batteries, we can see that, compared with lead-acid batteries, sodium-ion batteries have overall superior performance. There is bound to be a lot in the field of battery applications. Compared with lithium-ion batteries, sodium-ion batteries will suffer in terms of energy density and cycle life, but they have low cost and high safety. Therefore, sodium-ion batteries have a wide range of applications for electric vehicles with low energy density requirements.