Most current rechargeable batteries for transportation are based on the use of lithium. However, the relatively high cost, the somewhat limited global abundance of lithium, and environmental concerns around the sourcing of lithium mean that there is a demand for a lower-cost alternative that would increase the uptake of energy storage technologies in a number of sectors. Sodium-based batteries could be such an option, particularly for static storage, where cost is a more important factor than weight or performance.
The Faraday Institution’s Nexgenna project will accelerate the development of sodium-ion battery technology by taking a multi-disciplinary approach incorporating fundamental chemistry right through to scale-up and cell manufacturing. Its aim is to put on the path to commercialisation a sodium-ion battery with high performance, low cost, that has a long cycle life and is safe.
Many models of future grid networks based on renewable energy incorporate storage on a local or domestic level for increased network resilience and to ensure the efficiency of small-scale renewable sources. The widespread use of commercial Na-ion batteries, that this project will facilitate, would aid the realisation of these models, and also fulfil the need for low-cost electric transport options in the highly polluted and densely populated conurbations in developing economies.
This project benefits from strong academic-industrial links across the value chain. Industry partners bring strengths in terms of materials, cell fabrication and electrode manufacturing. By working closely with these partners, the project team will ensure the cutting-edge science is readily exploited and successfully deployed, making the UK a leader in this technology for stationary and low-cost transportation applications.
List of partners:
- University of St Andrews
- University of Cambridge
- University College London
- Lancaster University
- University of Sheffield
- Science and Technology Facilities Council
- Diamond Light Source
- Three industrial collaborators
- And five leading overseas research institutes
Professor John Irvine, University of St Andrews