Secondly, the working principle of these batteries is very similar to lithium-ion batteries. This means the existing lithium-ion battery manufacturing plants can be retrofitted to manufacture sodium-ion batteries. Thirdly, sodium-ion batteries have a wider operational temperature range than lithium-ion batteries which makes them suitable and safe for operations in extreme weather conditions. Lastly, on the technical parameters, the energy density of available sodium-ion battery from leading technology providers is competitive, albeit smaller, to lithium NMC variants.2 Despite the lower energy densities, sodium-ion batteries provide a good value proposition for stationary storage applications where energy density is not a priority. Some of these applications include behind-the-meter storage at the consumer end and power backup for telecom towers and data management centres. Furthermore, sodium-ion batteries allow fast recharging up to full capacity. This is a massive advantage over other technologies where safety issues can limit fast recharging capabilities. These combined advantages of cost, availability, safety, and superior performance metrics make sodium-ion batteries a lucrative choice for decision-makers.
What is a Sodium-ion battery
However, just like any other technology, sodium-ion batteries come with their own share of challenges. These batteries have a higher self-discharge than lithium-ion batteries. When not in use, sodium-ion batteries lose considerable amount of the stored energy, resulting in a shorter shelf life. Furthermore, the stability of the electrolyte in these batteries is low. Migration of sodium-ions during charge-discharge cycles ruptures the non-flammable solid electrolyte, thereby damaging the battery. Extensive research to overcome these shortcomings is being undertaken and hopefully future advancements would allow efficient utilisation of this technology.
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