Race to the bottom: Can Na-ion batteries win the battle for low-cost energy storage?

August 14, 2019 | Case Study

Despite some startup activity, Na-ion battery development today is led by research institutes; more than three times as many academic papers as patents were published on Na-ion batteries in 2018. The value proposition of these batteries is that they are cheap: Unlike lithium, there is already a robust supply chain for sodium, and technologies for extracting sodium from natural resources are well-established. However, the maximum theoretical gravimetric and volumetric energy densities for Na-ion batteries are comparable to the energy densities achieved by Li-ion batteries used to power Nokia phones back in 2001. Na-ion battery developers have therefore struggled to address many automotive applications, as the potential cost savings achieved using cheaper materials cannot compensate for the loss in energy density.

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