Northvolt Has Written The Future Of Batteries With Sodium : The Common Salt

These sodium batteries have been designed to store excess power generated by renewable energy such as wind and solar


Northvolt, one of the best-funded climate tech companies, has written about the future of batteries. This Swedish company has taken the EV industry by storm when it announced it has made a battery replacing lithium – which dominates current battery technologies – with far cheaper and more abundant sodium, common table salt used in our kitchen and our food every day

The company had manufactured a first-of-its-kind energy storage battery by replacing widely used critical minerals – such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and graphite – with cheaper and far more abundant sodium – a chemical element which is found in table salt – as well as iron, nitrogen and carbon.

Northvolt’s sodium batteries have been designed to store excess power generated by renewable energy such as wind and solar, and dispatch it back to the grid when it is most needed.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says global energy storage capacity needs to increase six times for the world to achieve the goal of tripling global renewable capacity by 2030, with batteries expected to deliver 90% of that growth.

“This is a fundamentally new technology,” Andreas Haas, head of Northvolt’s sodium-ion programme.

In recent years, concerns have grown over the social and environmental harms of extracting and refining battery minerals. Reserves of lithium, nickel and cobalt are concentrated in a handful of countries, making them prone to geopolitical and trade disruptions, and subject to intense competition. Meanwhile, China dominates the lithium-ion battery supply chain, controlling 70% of global lithium refining capacity.

As we all know Reducing those emissions requires a shift of our energy systems away from fossil fuels to renewable sources, such as solar and wind.

Yet this transformation requires a massive increase in the manufacturing and deployment of clean energy technologies, from solar panels and wind turbines to the batteries needed to store energy. The supply chains needed to produce clean energy technologies are a critical – yet sometimes overlooked – part of the energy transition.

Even though , these visions of the future remain a long way from the world we currently live in. Around 80% of global energy supply still comes from fossil fuels, which account for about three-quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions.

While Chinese companies were first to use sodium to replace lithium in batteries, they often relied on other critical minerals such as nickel or cobalt to optimise their performance, There is still limited transparency over the detailed performance and specific type of sodium-ion batteries Chinese companies are deploying.

Sodium-based batteries offer a solution to the electric battery supply chain challenges, particularly for Western countries seeking to reduce their dependence on China for cleantech.The real value of sodium-ion batteries is the potential to build a European supply chain. In the US and the EU, there is growing pressure to decouple from China and to build domestic supply, and sodium-ion batteries could have strong potential in that transition.

According to 2023 analysis by BloombergNEF, sodium batteries could displace 272,000 tonnes of lithium demand by 2035, equivalent to about 7% of the overall market projected for that year. Northvolt’s sodium batteries, however, are critical mineral-free.

The writer of this article is Dr. Seema Javed, an environmentalist & a communications professional in the field of climate and energy

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