Sodium batteries from 0 to 1, prismatic battery cell, pouch battery cell, cylindrical battery cell, which form will become the mainstream of sodium battery in the future? Based on their own advantages and future market trends, different battery companies have exclusively or intersected prismatic, pouch, and cylindrical sodium batteries. This article will conduct a detailed analysis.
1. From the lithium battery development to foresee the future sodium battery development
From the market point of view, the selection of battery form should be adapted based on the needs of terminal applications, and then the advantages of different forms of batteries in terms of structure, process, and equipment maturity should be brought into play. From the observation of the supporting form of lithium battery landing application, it may be possible to foresee the future development pattern of sodium battery.
In the power battery market, prismatic lithium batteries can meet the customized needs of car companies based on the advantage of strong plasticity. At present, prismatic lithium batteries occupy a dominant position with a market share of 92%, and the penetration rate of soft pack and cylindrical lithium batteries in the power market is relatively low. If sodium batteries compete with lithium batteries in the A-class and below car market in the future, battery companies can continue the production process and equipment of prismatic lithium batteries to form an advantage in cost.
In the energy storage market, electric energy storage currently accounts for more than 70% of the overall market share, and its applications are on the power generation side, grid side, and industrial and commercial side. Specific products can be divided into capacity type and power type, which require relatively large battery capacity, and the main battery forms are prismatic and large cylinders.
In terms of small storage such as home energy storage and portable power station, cylindrical batteries are currently the mainstream in the market. 18650, 21700 battery and larger cylinders have been applied in small batches in some occasions where the charge requirements are more stringent.
In terms of communication energy storage, due to the high degree of standardization in the downstream market, the lithium battery packs used in this field are mainly standardized products, with prismatic LFP 48V50Ah and 48V100Ah and other product models as the mainstream.
Therefore, as far as the current mainstream form of energy storage lithium batteries is concerned, sodium batteries may be faster and more convenient to enter the energy storage market in the future with prismatic, large and small cylinders based on ground-based applications, original equipment and mature technology in factories.
In terms of pouch sodium batteries, compared with prismatic and cylindrical batteries, they have differentiated advantages:
- First, the aluminum-plastic film used in pouch batteries is less prone to explosion than prismatic and cylindrical hard-shell packages;
- Second, pouch batteries are 40% lighter than steel-case batteries of the same capacity, and 20% lighter than aluminum-case batteries, directly addressing the weight problem of sodium batteries.
At present, most of top 10 sodium ion battery companies use pouch sodium batteries as a preliminary sample test. In the future, they will further develop and produce corresponding forms of sodium battery products according to market trends and landing scenarios. There are also companies that specialize in pouch lithium batteries and directly enter the sodium battery track.
2. Prismatic sodium battery
At this stage, the production compatibility of sodium batteries and lithium batteries is relatively high. Leading battery companies mainly use their own lithium battery production lines compatible with sodium battery production, and emerging sodium battery companies mainly produce batteries in the form of OEM.
Judging from the existing power lithium battery production line, prismatic cell packaging currently accounts for the highest proportion, and the penetration rate of prismatic laminates in the energy storage market is also further increasing. The superposition of the two may affect the future form of sodium batteries. Professionals believe that in the initial stage of sodium battery industrialization, in order to consider the cost issue, there are not many voices for investing in new sodium battery production lines, and it is more cost-effective to continue to use prismatic lithium battery production lines.
From the point of view of companies that have deployed prismatic sodium electricity, there are currently CATL, Phylion, HiNa BATTERY, Higee Energy, etc.
3. Cylindrical sodium battery
According to analysis, the advantage of cylindrical batteries lies in standardization, and the standardization of battery cells is conducive to the standardization of production lines and can improve production efficiency. The cylindrical battery winding process is relatively mature, with a high degree of automation and good consistency, and the cost can be reduced by more than 10%. In addition, the cylindrical battery cell has low internal resistance and good heat dissipation performance under the design of all tabs.
It is worth noting that EVE released a large cylindrical sodium-ion battery product in December 2022. The cathode uses layered oxide, the anode uses hard carbon, the energy density is 135Wh/kg, and the number of cycles reaches 2,500. Based on the low-temperature characteristics of sodium batteries, combined with the research and development of EVE large cylindrical sodium batteries, it can well enter the energy storage market in alpine regions.
Companies that choose large cylindrical sodium batteries also include DFD, whose sodium batteries are evaluated starting from pouch batteries, and subsequently developed large cylindrical sodium batteries. In terms of production capacity, DFD currently has nearly 1GWh of sodium battery production capacity in Jiaozuo base, and the 5GWh base in Nanning will be compatible with sodium battery production in the future.
In terms of application scenarios, DFD sodium batteries are mainly used in scenarios such as two-wheelers, tricycles, small energy storage, and backup power. Not only that, NATRIUM's sodium-electric form mainly focuses on cylinders and soft packages, and its landing applications are mainly concentrated in household storage, micro electric vehicles, mobile base stations and other fields.
4. Pouch sodium battery
At present, battery companies deploy soft-pack sodium batteries, one is for product testing, and the other is to solve the weight problem of sodium batteries and improve energy density. The aluminum-plastic film used in the pouch battery is lighter than the aluminum shell and steel shell used in the square and cylinder, and the battery cell has a larger storage space and a higher energy density.
Farasis, as the leading soft-pack battery company in China, recently announced that it has obtained the battery designation letter for EV3 models from Jiangling Group. It will purchase sodium-ion battery pack assemblies from Farasis and require the company to start mass production of batteries in the first half of the year.
Previously, Farasis released the latest soft pack battery technology SPS. This technology integrates four innovative technologies of large pouch cell, large pouch battery system, large pouch battery manufacturing and direct recycling, broadening the range of battery material choices. Compatible with high nickel ternary, low nickel rich lithium manganese, sodium ions, lifepo4 battery, etc.
In addition, new sodium battery forces such as Jiana Energy and XingKong Sodium Battery are also deploying pouch sodium batteries. Among them, Jiana Energy's pouch sodium battery chooses the polyanion route. XingKong Sodium Battery chose the Prussian blue route, which has completed the application in the pouch battery system and established a sodium battery pilot line.
It is worth mentioning that energy storage companies are also stepping up the development of sodium batteries. Previously, Pylon Tech entered the household storage market through pouch lithium batteries. Pylon Tech continues to use the original mature production line of lithium battery pouch cells, and will have a greater advantage in deploying pouch sodium batteries in the future.