Sodium ion alternative has automotive application as lab results deliver promise

The argument for sodium use is beyond appealing—it’s positively compelling, writes Cat Dow

As battery development in the automotive space continues, the ubiquitously available sodium purports to make gains in cost, safety, scalability and sustainability.

Special report: Electric vehicle battery materials

Led out of the University of St Andrews and working in partnership with Faradion (a company established in 2011 to develop and bring sodium-ion battery technology to market), a wide network of industrial collaborators, five UK universities and other overseas institutes, the Nexgenna project aims to ‘accelerate the development of sodium-ion battery technology by taking a multi-disciplinary approach incorporating fundamental chemistry right through to scale-up and cell manufacturing. Its aim is to put on the path to commercialisation a sodium-ion battery with high performance, low cost, that has a long cycle life and is safe.

Lead investigator Professor John Irvine told Automotive World, “Many of us in the [scientific] community thought lithium was always going to be more effective [than other elements]. [Yet, the performance of] sodium is rapidly becoming comparable to some of the best lithium technologies. [What’s more, with sodium] you can avoid using cobalt, you can avoid lithium.”

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