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Construction starts for battery factory in Heide

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Construction starts for battery factory in Heide

Sodium batteries are considered to have a promising future. But when are they ready for the market?

Northvolt has already attracted attention several times with new developments. At the end of 2023, the company’s researchers presented their own sodium-ion cell that achieves an energy density of 160 watt hours per kilogram of weight. Northvolt has thus proven that sodium batteries provide almost the same performance as lithium-ion batteries, according to Northvolt boss Peter Carlsson. This would be a leap in innovation for the industry, because the sodium battery does not require expensive nickel, cobalt and lithium, which are mined under precarious working conditions. This would make Europe’s manufacturers more independent of Chinese suppliers. The sodium cell is primarily intended to provide inexpensive large batteries for stationary storage. It was previously considered too heavy for mobile applications such as cars. “I am very enthusiastic about this innovation,” said Carlsson. Sodium cells do not yet achieve the energy density of expensive lithium-ion cells. However, since they generate hardly any heat and can therefore be packed very close together, they can potentially compensate for this disadvantage in the car. Northvolt still has to show that the technology can be scaled. “We want to develop sodium-based battery storage as pilot models within the next twelve months,” says Carlsson. “And then we want to ramp up production in two years.”

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