French Scientists Produce Sodium-Ion Batteries
The first prototype of a sodium-ion battery has just been revealed by the RS2E, a French network bringing together researchers and industrial actors. This technology, inspired by the lithium-ion batteries already used in portable computers and electric vehicles, could lead to the mass storage of intermittent renewable energy sources.
“The sodium-ion battery unveiled today is directly inspired by lithium-ion technology,” explains Jean-Marie Tarascon, the French battery “guru” who is a solid-state chemist at the CNRS, and professor at the Collège de France.
Current state of the art for Sodium-ion for energy density is 90 watt-hours/kilogram.This is comparable to certain lithium-ion batteries, such as the Li-ion iron/phosphate battery,” points out Loïc Simonin, a researcher at LITEN, a CEA laboratory associated with the development of the prototype. And its life span (maximum number of charge-discharge cycles) exceeds 2000 cycles.
“When the electric vehicle market began to develop, we feared a surge in lithium prices, and sodium thus entered the race again,” Tarascon recalls.
Sodium-ion Batteries Versus Lithium.
Tarascon has this to say:
For lithium, all fundamental research had been conducted in Europe, especially in France. Yet it was in Japan that the technology was transferred and brought to market, allowing Sony to launch its first lithium-ion battery in 1991. As a result, 95% of Li-ion production today takes place in Asia.
Simonin went on to say:
The 18650 format enables us to provide proof of concept , and compare the performance of our batteries with those of similar format that are already available on the market. However, other formats will need to be designed to meet new requirements.