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Finance & MarketsWhy is Reliance Industries investing in sodium-ion battery technology? How does it...

Why is Reliance Industries investing in sodium-ion battery technology? How does it compare to Lithium Ion?

Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd (RNESL), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd., on 31 December 2021, announced that it is in the process of purchasing a 100% stake in the U.K. based Faradion Limited (Faradion) for 100 Million British Pounds. RNESL will invest an additional 25 million for faster a commercial roll

out.

Faradion’s patented sodium-ion battery technology has an energy density on par with lithium-ion phosphate and a wider operating temperature range of -30°C to +60°C.

Reliance plans to use the sodium-ion battery in its upcoming fully integrated energy storage giga-factory as part of the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex project at Jamnagar.

Faradion is expected to build an integrated end-to-end Giga scale manufacturing in India.

Sodium batteries are a collective term for a range of solutions, including sodium ion, solid state, sodium oxygen and sodium sulfur batteries. While the latter are positioned more as disruptive technologies of the future, sodium-ion technology is almost ripe to challenge lithium-ion batteries in many specific applications.

Sodium-ion battery vs Lithium-ion battery in commercial markets?

From 2023, the Chinese company CATL, which now controls about 30% of the global lithium battery market, intends to begin supplying sodium-ion batteries that do not require the use of lithium in their production. 

While launching its first battery, CATL said the advantages of sodium-ion batteries is higher charging speed and less susceptibility to negative temperatures. But a reduced charge storage density means an increase in the size of the sodium-ion batteries. A reduced power reserve makes such batteries not very convenient for electric vehicles. 

Even the future forecast for sodium-ion batteries is not very rosy. Adamas Intelligence experts believe that by 2035, sodium-ion batteries will account for no more than 15% of the global market.

But Lithium-ion batteries are volatile and costly to operate. Sodium is considered the most promising replacement for lithium. The price of sodium-ion batteries (Na-Ion) is potentially lower due to the wide availability of sodium salts – their reserves are enormous. The similarity of the basic principles of sodium-ion and lithium-ion batteries allows you to use existing production lines. Na-Ion batteries can be stored and transported completely discharged, which reduces safety risks during transport. Another plus is the use of more environmentally friendly materials to produce the anode material, down to food waste.

Why is Reliance Industries investing in Sodium-ion batteries?

One of the key areas of application of sodium-ion batteries is undoubtedly stationary energy storage systems, for which cost and service life are of key importance.

Reliance is interested in the Faradion stationary energy storage for renewable energy (for example solar energy) and the fast-growing EV charging market. “We believe this will be one of our many steps that will also enable, accelerate, and secure large scale energy storage requirements for our Indian partners developing and transforming India’s EV mobility and transport sector,” says Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries.

Reliance Gigafactory includes solar manufacturing units, a battery factory, a fuel cell-making factory, and an electrolyser unit to produce green hydrogen. Faradion’s fits into the creation of the battery factory.

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