China’s Research Banks on New Sodium Ion Battery

by Wall Street Rebel - Michael London | 04/17/2023 8:31 AM
China’s Research Banks on New Sodium Ion Battery

A significant advantage enjoyed by lithium batteries has been eroded by recent developments that allow sodium batteries to be recharged every day for years. Sodium battery energy storage capacity has also improved.


Thousands of scientists, engineers, and factory workers in Changsha, in the heart of China, are making strides toward a brighter future for batteries.

Like Stanford University shaped the fortunes of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who pioneered microchips, Central South University in this city churns out graduates who are furthering the technology. Huge plants on the other side of the Xiang River transform minerals into the highly refined chemicals needed to produce rechargeable batteries.

China is the world leader in the refining and manufacturing of chemicals. Cellphones and other electrical devices wouldn't exist without these batteries, which are often comprised of lithium. They are revolutionizing automobile production and may soon do the same for solar panels and wind turbines that are essential to combating climate change.

Now China is setting itself up to dominate the next big thing in rechargeable batteries: switching out expensive lithium for sodium.

Sodium, which is a component of salt and can be found all over the globe, has a price range of one to three percent of that of lithium and is chemically very similar to lithium. As a result of recent advancements, sodium batteries may now be recharged daily for years, eliminating one of the primary advantages of lithium batteries.


Subscribe 100% Free to Wall Street and receive access to investment tools worth $17,500!

Sodium batteries have a significant benefit over lithium batteries in that they can maintain virtually all of their charge even when exposed to temperatures far below freezing, which is something that lithium batteries normally cannot achieve.

In Changsha, graduates from the verdant campus of Central South University are contributing to the development of sodium battery technology at neighboring research centers operated by corporations such as Germany's BASF, which is the largest chemical manufacturer in the world. A few streets from the research laboratories, one of the first and largest plants for producing sodium battery chemicals, has already been constructed.

In interviews, executives from Chinese battery companies said that in the previous year, they had found out how to build sodium battery cells that are so identical to lithium ones that they can be manufactured using the same equipment. The Chinese conglomerate CATL, which is the world's biggest maker of electric vehicle batteries, claims to have found a method to employ sodium cells and lithium cells in the same electric car's battery pack. This would combine the advantages of sodium cells, which include their cheap cost and resilience to the elements, with the benefits of lithium cells, which have a longer range. According to the business, they are ready to mass-produce these hybrid battery packs.

CATL, which stands for Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd., has just constructed its first large-scale sodium battery assembly facility in Ningde. A portion of the company's supply chain comes from Changsha, where chemicals are produced. During an interview at the company's headquarters in Ningde, China, Huang Qisen, the deputy dean of CATL's research institution, said, "We are ready to industrialize it."

Sodium is beginning to get the attention of multinational businesses.

"It will shave off the peak of demand for lithium," said Mike Henry, the chief executive officer of BHP, the biggest mining firm in the world. "I am confident that we will start seeing sodium replace lithium for certain applications."

In the 1970s, the United States initiated serious investigations into the possibility of using sodium in battery technology. Japanese researchers made key advancements a decade years ago. Since then, businesses based in China have emerged as the frontrunners in the race to commercialize the technology.

According to Benchmark Minerals, a consulting group, sixteen of the twenty sodium battery plants that are now being planned or are already under construction throughout the globe are in China. Within the next two years, China will be able to produce sodium batteries equal to roughly 95 percent of the global total. According to predictions made by Benchmark, the manufacturing of lithium batteries will still much exceed that of sodium batteries at that time; nevertheless, advancements in sodium are picking up speed.

Subscribe 100% Free to Wall Street and receive access to investment tools worth $17,500!

Sodium battery plans for at least some Chinese market subcompact vehicles with limited range are likely to be announced at the Shanghai auto show next week by both automakers and battery manufacturers.

Electric grids, the interconnected systems of wires and towers that transfer energy, are sodium batteries' most immediate and potential use. The market for grid-scale batteries is expanding rapidly, particularly in China. This week, Tesla announced plans to construct a facility in Shanghai where it would manufacture lithium batteries for utilities.

To store the same amount of electrical charge, sodium batteries need to be much larger than lithium ones. This is a challenge for automobiles because of their limited storage capacities, but it is not an issue for the storage of electrical grids. Suppose a utility company decides to transition from lithium to sodium. In that case, they only need to place twice as many large batteries in an empty lot close to solar panels or wind turbines.

As utilities globally transition to more environmentally friendly energy sources, such as solar and wind, they have a growing desire for large volumes of battery storage. They need to be able to store energy when the sun is shining, and the wind is blowing so that they may utilize it later as an alternative to electricity fueled by coal or gas.

Already, the price of electricity in one of China's largest provinces, Shandong, may be up to twenty times higher in the early evening, when demand is at its peak, than it is in the middle of the day when the system is saturated with more solar power than enterprises and houses need. The power-producing firms use lithium batteries so that their renewable energy may be distributed over a greater number of hours.

However, certain utilities, such as the Three Gorges Corporation in west-central China, are starting to do research and development on sodium batteries. According to Frank Haugwitz, a consultant specializing in China's solar business, several of China's provinces have started mandating that newly constructed solar or wind power farms must contain sufficient batteries to store between 10 and 20 percent of the energy they produce. This requirement has been put in place.

Electric vehicle charging stations in towns like Fuzhou have been outfitted with lithium batteries the size of minivans courtesy of CATL. The batteries will charge themselves anytime there is a low demand for power, such as during the night or when the sun is shining on the solar panels atop the charging station. They will be ready for use whenever a driver pulls up to the station to get their charge. CATL is looking at whether or not sodium can be employed in these kinds of settings.

In contrast to lithium batteries, the most recent sodium batteries do not need rare elements such as cobalt, a mineral mostly mined in Africa under circumstances that have upset human rights organizations. Nickel, often extracted from mines in Indonesia, Russia, and the Philippines, is not necessary to produce the most recent sodium batteries.

Subscribe 100% Free to Wall Street and receive access to investment tools worth $17,500!

But despite its rapid advancement toward the top position in sodium, China must still overcome obstacles. There is the question of where the sodium may be obtained.

Soda ash is the primary industrial source of sodium. Even though salt is plentiful, the United States has more than 90 percent of the world's deposits that can be easily mined for soda ash. A large deposit of soda ash that was created fifty million years ago is buried deep under the desert in the southwestern part of Wyoming. The extraction of soda ash there has been going on for a very long time for the benefit of the glass-making sector in the United States.

Instead of relying on its meager natural stocks of soda ash or imports from the United States, China creates synthetic soda ash in chemical facilities powered by coal. This is because natural soda ash deposits are very limited.

The manufacturing of synthetic soda ash in China has a track record of polluting harmful water levels. This includes the fall of a mound of alkali slag that occurred in east-central China in 2016, which swept away automobiles and polluted a major river. The environmental protection agency of the nation is making efforts to improve the industry's ecological footprint.

Another concern that has to be answered about sodium is whether or not lithium will continue to be expensive. Lithium prices increased by a factor of four between 2017 and November of last year but have subsequently decreased by almost two-thirds.

Concerns have also been raised about the longevity of sodium-based batteries. According to David Fishman, a power sector expert at Lantau Group, a consulting business, power firms are interested in seeing how sodium batteries operate not just in laboratories but also outdoors after being exposed to the elements for a number of years.

However, Mr. Fishman and others are now paying special attention to the development of sodium batteries. The need for batteries is rapidly increasing, and it is doubtful that lithium will continue to be the predominant material for an endless amount of time.


                       Goodbye Lithium! NEW Sodium Ion 4.0 Battery Changes Everything in 2023!


Latest News

Stay Up to Date With The Latest
News & Updates

Join Our Newsletter


Rebel Yell Morning Market Report
Market Alerts
Offers from us
Offers from our trusted partners

Follow Us

Connect with us on social media

Facebook Twitter