According to Wartsila, sodium-ion batteries are gaining traction as a promising alternative to lithium-ion technology. The company aims to incorporate sodium-ion batteries into its future stationary energy storage solutions.
t present, lithium-ion batteries are the dominant electrochemical energy storage technology – and a highly popular option for storing renewable energy such as solar or wind.
Sodium-ion technology could help alleviate supply limitations
Just below lithium on the periodic table, there’s sodium. Sodium-ion battery technology is currently raising extensive hype in the energy storage industry.
The main interest for sodium-ion batteries stems from what the technology does not contain – lithium. Sodium-ion batteries may well help alleviate supply limitations by reducing the strain on lithium resources.
..explains Safak Dogu, Senior Battery Specialist, Energy Storage and Optimisation.
Sodium-ion technology is attracting large investments
Many large players in the energy industry are investing in acquiring and developing sodium-ion technology. For example, in late 2021, Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries paid $135 million to purchase Faradion, a UK start-up developing sodium-ion batteries.
Some companies like Faradion are focusing on achieving higher energy density, while others, like US-based Natron Energy, are pursuing the development of a sodium-ion battery with a longer cycle life.
Chinese battery giant CATL, which holds more than 30% of the market share for lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles, equally unveiled its sodium-ion battery prototype in 2021, and is looking to mass produce next generation products in 2023. Several other Chinese companies also aim to achieve commercialisation before 2025.
Unlocking a sustainable future with sodium-ion technology
Safak Dogu and Miikka Jokinen concur that sodium-ion batteries will be part of Wärtsilä’s energy storage offering in the relatively near future.
Safety is a top priority at Wärtsilä and for our customers when they are scaling up and creating large energy storage systems. Sodium-ion technology shows great potential for providing improved safety features for energy storage – and a lower price point once sufficiently scaled. This makes the technology especially interesting for stationary energy storage applications.
Even so, lithium-ion batteries are the industry standard for good reason. Technical advances are continually being made in lithium-ion battery technology as well, so emerging technologies essentially need to catch up with a moving train. At Wärtsilä, we don’t see sodium-ion technology replacing lithium-ion, but complementing it.
Moreover, on 25th April, CINS and P&I Clubs published guidelines for Lithium-Ion batteries onboard containers titled “Lithium-Ion Batteries in Containers Guidelines”.