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GGII: Prospects for China's sodium ion battery market in 2021

On May 21, 2021, the chairman of CATL, Zeng Yuqun, revealed at the company’s shareholders meeting that the sodium battery will be released around July this year, which quickly aroused heated discussions in the lithium battery circle. Prior to this, domestic and foreign companies have been deploying the industrialization of sodium-ion batteries, such as China's Zhongke Hai Na, Xingkong Nadian, and foreign FARADION.


With the upcoming release of Ningde era sodium-ion battery products, sodium-ion batteries are expected to become a new outlet for the battery industry.


There are four main types of sodium-ion batteries, among which sodium-sulfur batteries and sodium-sodium chloride batteries are high-temperature sodium-ion batteries, and aqueous sodium-ion batteries and solvent-based sodium-ion batteries are normal-temperature sodium-ion batteries. At present, low-volume applications are mainly used in normal temperature sodium ion batteries, especially solvent-based sodium ion batteries.


In terms of the industrial chain, the upstream positive and negative electrodes and electrolyte additives all need to cultivate a new supply chain. The diaphragm, current collector, electrolyte solute and production line can be shared with lithium-ion batteries; while downstream, they mainly replace lead-acid batteries, The market for lithium manganate batteries and lithium iron phosphate batteries is mainly applied in electric two-wheelers, low-speed vehicles, energy storage, electric ships and electric tools.


At present, sodium ion batteries are in the demonstration application stage. For example, in June 2018, Zhongke Haina launched a low-speed electric vehicle driven by sodium ion batteries (72V•80Ah), and released a 30kW/100kWh sodium ion battery in March 2019 Energy storage power station. Due to the lack of a niche market and large-scale capital investment, the sodium-ion battery industry chain is still in its infancy, resulting in a small industrial market.


The Lithium Battery Research Institute of Advanced Industry Research Institute believes that the main reasons for the lack of large-scale application of sodium-ion batteries are:


(1) Sodium ion batteries have no obvious price advantage over lithium ion batteries at this stage.


(2) Compared with lithium ion batteries (lifepo4 battery and lithium manganate batteries), sodium ion batteries have energy density disadvantages.


(3) Because the sodium-ion battery industry chain is not mature enough, the formulation of sodium-ion batteries has not undergone enough iterations, the performance potential is not sufficiently tapped, and there are many potential performance defects.


(4) Due to user inertia and path dependence, users are more willing to accept lithium-ion batteries with higher maturity.


(5) In all subdivisions, sodium ion batteries have not shown irreplaceable performance.


(6) There is no large-scale application of sodium-ion batteries, leading to the immature upstream supply chain of sodium-ion batteries, and sodium-ion batteries have not obtained obvious cost advantages.


(7) The cascaded use of lithium batteries that have been retired from the recycling of waste lithium batteries are cheap and the supply continues to increase, which further reduces the market possibility of sodium-ion batteries.


The most mature technical route currently mainstream in China is: the positive electrode is sodium transition metal oxide, the transition metal is copper-iron-manganese or nickel-iron-manganese, the negative electrode is hard carbon or anthracite soft carbon, the electrolyte solute is sodium hexafluorophosphate, electrolyte The solvent is the same as the current lithium-ion battery solvent, and both the positive and negative current collectors are aluminum foil.


The main competitive products of sodium-ion batteries are lithium manganese batteries, lithium iron phosphate batteries, lead-acid batteries and cascaded lithium batteries.


By calculating the difference in energy density between the positive and negative electrodes of sodium ions, it can be concluded that under the same technical conditions, the energy density of sodium ions is about 0.7-0.8 times that of lithium manganate batteries and lithium iron phosphate batteries. After comparing the performance of sodium-ion batteries with lithium manganese oxide batteries and lithium iron phosphate batteries, the Institute of Lithium Battery Research Institute of Advanced Industry Research believes that the future application fields of sodium-ion batteries are expected to be mainly concentrated in the electric two-wheeler market, household energy storage, and low-speed vehicles. And backup power and other fields.


Capacity performance comparison between sodium ion battery and lithium battery


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Source: Advanced Industry Research Institute of Lithium Battery (GGII), May 2021


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