With strong policy support, technology-driven change and declining costs, the next generation of technological change driven by capital investment is also the fastest. Technology-driven is the biggest label in the high-speed iteration industry.
Therefore, all current attention on the direction of the next generation of new energy is focused on sodium ion batteries. It will copy the rapid development path of lithium batteries and become the battery product with the highest growth potential in the next 10 years.
1. A new breakthrough in the field of new energy
Looking back at the development history, sodium ions themselves began to resemble lithium-ion batteries. However, subject to the difference in characteristics with lithium-ion batteries themselves, the development of sodium cathode materials is immature, and it is not until 2015 that there are some signs of industrialization.
And what drives its rise are costs and markets. With the sharp rise in battery demand for new energy vehicles, coupled with low lithium reserves and uneven distribution, many factors are affected. Whether it is the huge market demand or the security of the international lithium battery supply chain, the scarce lithium element is obviously unable to meet.
According to the data, lithium batteries not only account for 70% of the power battery, but are also relatively expensive. The content of lithium in the Earth's crust is only 0.0065%. Sodium reserves are 440 times that of lithium, and are widely distributed and easy to refine. As an alternative to lithium batteries, it can achieve 70% performance of lithium batteries with a cost advantage of 30%-40% of lithium-ion batteries.
Sodium ion batteries began to appear in the planning of many battery companies in the form of replacement and supplement. It can be said that cost pressure has begun to push sodium electricity to the forefront, and many changes within new energy are also accelerating this progress.
First of all, a large number of electric vehicles have increased, and if they are charged centrally, they will have a great impact on the power grid. Such intermittent or unstable power demand will have a relatively high demand for energy storage power sources.
At the same time, the growth of independent energy storage is becoming increasingly evident. This makes energy storage put forward new requirements for energy storage battery cycle life, product safety and stability, etc. This has made the original price-oriented energy storage supply chain system slowly shift to a quality- and cost-based ecology. Such changes in market demand make sodium electricity, which is advantageous in cost and safety, the best outlet.
2. The rise of sodium ions and cathode materials
The product is basically inseparable from the three main technical routes of cathode materials: layered oxides, polyanionic compounds, and Prussian blue (white). In the case of Prussian compounds, due to the preparation of crystallization and the production of toxic gases after thermal runaway, the current industrialization progress is slow.
For the remaining two, layered oxides are similar to sodium-electric ternary with high energy density, and polyanionic compounds can be compared to iron-lithium in sodium batteries. Long cycle life and high safety, but slightly lower energy density than layered oxides.
Specifically, the layered oxide can be compared with the ternary material in lithium batteries in terms of structure, with a relatively high specific capacity, and its process flow is close to the ternary material, so industrialization is faster.
However, as the largest sodium electricity application scenario, in the field of energy storage and low-speed electric vehicles, customers are most concerned about safety, life cycle, cost advantages, low-temperature charging and discharging, etc.
Taking low-temperature charging and discharging as an example, even in use and energy storage scenarios, quality and energy supply can be maintained. Whether the high safety, long life and relatively cheap characteristics of sodium electricity, and even whether safety can fully surpass lithium iron phosphate batteries, is the ultimate determining factor for whether sodium ion batteries can be widely used in the field of energy storage.
Reducing electricity costs throughout the life cycle is the core value of maximizing the use of sodium electricity. So at this time, looking at the polyanion route, many advantages can emerge.
3. Highly secure technical route
It can be said that the advantages of low cost, high safety and long cycle are all combined, especially suitable for large-scale energy storage and low-speed electric vehicles. Although the current energy density of sodium batteries and lithium iron phosphate batteries still has a certain gap. However, because the energy storage scenario does not have high space requirements, the energy density is not a short board for the sodium power storage scenario.
Especially with the rapid growth of energy storage, the safety of electrochemical energy storage is particularly prominent. The thermal runaway of the electrochemical energy storage battery will lead to combustion explosion, and the spread of thermal runaway will further lead to the fire and secondary disaster of the energy storage power station.
In this dimension, sodium iron sulfate is the solution with the highest safety factor at present. As a sodium circuit with both advantages, sodium iron sulfate is not a technical route that can easily enter the threshold. From the perspective of the three-dimensional structure of the polyanionic system, this material is all three-dimensional three-dimensional structure, which is very suitable for sodium storage.
This material itself has a disadvantage. Its own conductivity is not very good, so improving its conductivity is the biggest scientific and technological difficulty of sodium iron sulfate. At the cellular level, sodium is solved by structurally stable cathode materials, high-performance hard carbon, new separators, and a wide temperature range of flame retardant electrolytes.
In this way, at the cellular level, cathode materials and low-cost anodes can be easily prepared at low cost, and the first all-solid-state premixing and low-temperature sintering can be used to achieve a breakthrough in the bottleneck of sodium iron sulfate.
4. Efficient and industrialized energy storage application scenarios
The reason why top 10 sodium-ion battery companies in the world actively develop sodium ion batteries is their main application scenario is energy storage. Energy storage is most concerned with high safety, which is precisely the strongest point of sodium iron sulfate batteries.
In contrast, the cost of sodium ion batteries will be reduced by more than 20% compared to lithium batteries, and the economic performance will be greatly improved compared to the lithium iron phosphate currently used. Compared to lead acid, the benefits are more obvious.
5. ConclusionEnergy storage projects are becoming more widely distributed and larger, and the security risks of energy storage power stations are also increasing. Under the first-mover advantage of lithium batteries, lithium iron phosphate, which has relatively good safety, was once considered the best solution for energy storage, but after entering the delivery stage, safety is still in the test and doubtful stage.