June 3, 2021: Chinese news reports at the end of May have said that lithium-ion battery giant CATL has plans to start making sodium-ion batteries in what some say could be a direct challenge to lead-acid.
According to the website www.equalocean.com, CATL chairman Robin (Yuqun) Zeng said the firm would start marketing sodium-ion batteries as early as next month. The decision to add the chemistry to its portfolio has been made to reduce its reliance on lithium imports, the report says.
“Currently, over 70% of China’s demand for lithium is fulfilled by foreign providers,” the report says. “Amid the Sino-American standoff, both nations’ finest high-tech corporations have been investing lavishly in import substitution strategies.”
It also says that shares of Sacred Sun and Lanta industrial have soared because they are key providers of materials for sodium-ion batteries.
“Sodium-ion cells have a lower energy density, ~100-150Wh/kg, in comparison to lithium-ion cells’, 330Wh/kg,” says James Frith, head of energy storage at BloombergNEF, “So expect them to be used to replace lead-acid initially, in applications such as back-up power and two and three-wheelers.
“In the long run, stationary storage markets could be suitable for sodium-ion deployments.”
The UK Faraday Institution says: “Sodium-ion batteries are an emerging battery technology with promising cost, safety, sustainability and performance advantages over current commercialized lithium-ion batteries.
“Key advantages include the use of widely available and inexpensive raw materials and a rapidly scalable technology based around existing lithium-ion production methods. These properties make sodium-ion batteries especially important in meeting global demand for carbon-neutral energy storage solutions.”