(Bloomberg) -- Swedish battery-maker Northvolt AB has developed its first sodium-ion product, a technology that could cut reliance on some scarce raw materials and lay the foundation for the company’s next generation of electric-car batteries.
The cell has a “best-in-class” energy density of more than 160 watt-hours per kilogram, and was made without any lithium, nickel, cobalt or graphite — key raw materials for most batteries, the company said Tuesday. While the first sodium-ion cells are designed primarily for energy storage, coming generations may be able to deliver higher energy density for electric mobility.
“Our sodium-ion technology delivers the performance required to enable energy storage with longer duration than alternative battery chemistries, at a lower cost,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Carlsson said in a statement.
Battery-makers are racing to commercialize new technologies, such as next-generation anodes as well as solid-state and sodium-ion batteries, to power EVs with cheaper and more efficient energy. Chinese EV-maker BYD Co.’s subsidiary announced a joint venture over the weekend to co-build a sodium-ion battery facility in the eastern Chinese city of Xuzhou.
Northvolt’s new product, which is based on a hard carbon anode and high-sodium “Prussian white” cathode, is more cost-effective and sustainable than conventional batteries made with nickel, manganese, cobalt or iron phosphate, according to the company. And with better safety at high temperatures, Northvolt sees it as especially attractive for energy storage in markets such as India, the Middle East and Africa.
The company, Europe’s only major home-grown battery maker, is currently expanding EV battery production in Sweden and has plans to build factories in Germany and Canada. It has so far raised more than $9 billion in equity and debt, bolstered by more than $55 billion in orders from automotive clients including BMW, Volvo Cars, Polestar and Volkswagen. Northvolt has said it plans to eventually go public.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.