energy storage system

Sodium ion battery vs lithium ion – comparing which is better?

Sodium ion battery vs lithium ion – comparing which is better
The article begins by introducing the reader to the principles of both Sodium-ion and Lithium-ion batteries, emphasizing their similarities. It then delves into a cost comparison, revealing that while Sodium-ion batteries were once considered more cost-effective due to sodium's abundance, the recent drop in lithium carbonate prices has negated this advantage. Specific differences between the two types of batteries are discussed next, including comparisons of energy density and life cycle.
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    Electrochemical energy storage is the process of energy storage, release and management completed by batteries. Its working principle is energy storage technology and measures that store electrical energy through media or equipment and release it when needed.

    According to the technical route, electrochemical energy storage can usually be divided into various secondary battery energy storage such as lithium-ion batteries, sodium-ion batteries, flow cell batteries, lead-acid batteries, and cutting-edge technologies. This article will mainly explain different energy storage technologies through sodium ion battery vs lithium ion.


    Introduction to lithium-ion and sodium-ion batteries

    Lithium-ion batteries are currently the most widely used new energy storage technology. Its typical technical characteristics are: high energy density, mostly between 140 Wh/kg and 220 Wh/kg, and cycle times of 2,000 to 10,000 times. Energy conversion the efficiency is about 85%-90%, and the response speed is fast, usually at the millisecond level.

    Lithium-ion batteries usually consist of positive electrodes, negative electrodes, electrolytes, separators, and related auxiliary materials. Among them, electrode materials and electrolytes are key links that affect the performance of lithium-ion batteries. According to different cathode materials, lithium-ion batteries can be mainly divided into lithium iron phosphate batteries, nickel-cobalt-manganese ternary lithium batteries, lithium cobalt oxide batteries, and lithium manganate batteries. Different technical routes are suitable for different fields, mainly including consumer batteries, power batteries and energy storage batteries.Introduction to lithium-ion and sodium-ion batteries

    First of all, sodium-ion batteries are very similar to lithium batteries in principle, that is, charging and discharging are performed by utilizing the round-trip migration of Na+ between the positive and negative electrodes. During battery charging, Na+ comes out of the positive electrode, passes through the separator through the electrolyte and is embedded in the negative electrode, so that the positive electrode is in a sodium-poor state of high potential, and the negative electrode is in a sodium-rich state of low potential. The discharge process is opposite.

    Sodium ion battery vs lithium ion - cost comparison

    Lithium resources are still relatively scarce globally, but sodium is not scarce. So when the price of lithium carbonate is rising and the price of lithium battery is also rising, sodium battery reappears in the industry’s vision. Substituting cheap sodium for lithium will create a sodium battery that is slightly inferior in performance, but cheaper and more cost-effective overall. This is the original intention of sodium batteries being re-emphasized.Cost comparison

    But now as the price of lithium carbonate falls, the prices of other materials in the industry chain have also fallen sharply. Now the price of power lithium iron phosphate batteries has fallen below 0.5 yuan/WH, with the latest price being 0.47 yuan/WH, while the current price of sodium battery cells is about 0.67 yuan/WH. In such a comparison, the cost-effective advantage of sodium ions is gone. When comparing sodium batteries and lithium batteries at the same level, lithium batteries are still better.

    Sodium ion battery vs lithium ion - specific differences

    1. Energy density is lower than that of lithium batteries
      The current energy density of sodium-ion batteries is 120-150wh/kg, which is lower than the current lithium battery energy density of 150-180wh/kg, and there is a certain gap between the energy density of ternary lithium batteries of 200-250wh/kg. Due to the energy density gap with lithium batteries, sodium batteries can only be used in low-speed vehicles, A0-class vehicles or models with a range of less than 400 kilometers in the automotive field.
    2. There is a gap in cycle life compared to lithium iron phosphate batteries.
      Sodium ions are larger in size, difficult to deintercalate, and have poor cycle performance. The radius of sodium ions is larger than that of lithium ions, so sodium ions are relatively stable in the rigid structure and difficult to reversibly deintercalate. Even if deintercalation can occur, the power of sodium ion intercalation and deintercalation is very slow and can easily cause irreversible phase changes in the structure of the electrode material, thereby reducing the cycle performance of the battery. At present, the cycle times of sodium-ion batteries are generally 2000-3000 times, and the cycle times of lithium iron phosphate batteries are generally 3000-6000 times.
    3. Differences in production processes between sodium batteries and lithium batteries
      The production process of sodium-ion batteries is similar to that of lithium-ion batteries, mainly including pole piece manufacturing (positive and negative electrode stirring and pulping-coating-rolling-die-cutting, etc.) and battery assembly (winding/lamination- Shell encapsulation-liquid injection-formation-volume separation and sorting, etc.). The production lines of the two are compatible and the production equipment can be shared.Sodium ion battery vs lithium ion - specific differences

    Since sodium-ion batteries can use aluminum foil as the negative electrode current collector, the same aluminum tabs can be used for the positive and negative electrode sheets, and related processes such as tab welding can be simplified. Therefore, the existing battery assembly production line for lithium-ion batteries can be used to produce sodium-ion batteries with slight modifications and parameter adjustments. The replacement cost of developing sodium-ion batteries is very low.

    Although the research and development and mass production of sodium electricity are currently progressing in an orderly manner. However, due to the current sharp decline in the price of lithium carbonate, the cost of sodium electricity does not have a significant advantage in the short term, which has delayed the progress of large-scale commercialization of sodium electricity to a certain extent.

    Sodium ion battery vs lithium ion - application areas

    Since the performance of sodium batteries is worse than that of lithium batteries (at the same level), sodium batteries are not currently used in mid- to high-end vehicles because there is a gap between them in energy density and charging rate compared to lithium batteries.

    At present, the main application fields of sodium batteries include two-wheeled vehicles, A00-class cars, and energy storage. And for a long time, sodium batteries will basically only be used in these three fields.Sodium ion battery vs lithium ion - application areas

    Energy storage batteries are generally lithium iron phosphate batteries, and competition is fierce. Energy storage batteries compete on price, so it is not easy for sodium batteries to enter the energy storage market. In particular, large-scale energy storage has requirements for the number of cycles, generally more than 6,000 times. But now the number of cycles of sodium batteries is actually only 2000-3000 times. Calculated in this way, even if the price of sodium batteries is lower, it will be difficult to enter the gridscale energy storage market.

    The energy storage market is a relatively professional market, and large-scale energy storage is dominated by enterprises. These enterprises will test battery performance and comprehensively consider price and cycle life. Therefore, if sodium batteries want to get a share of energy storage batteries, they must be technologically innovative.

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