Northvolt first company outside China to develop sodium-ion battery with 160 Wh/kg energy density

Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt has become the first company outside China to achieve a sodium-ion battery with 160 Wh per kg of energy density, the company told Fastmarkets on Tuesday November 21

According to Fastmarkets’ research team, the energy density for Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology’s (CATL) sodium-ion battery is 160Wh per kg and Chinese sodium-ion battery manufacturer HiNa Battery Technology’s is 145Wh per kg. This is compared with energy density of 255Wh per kg and 160Wh per kg for CATL’s latest nickelcobaltmanganese and lithium-iron-phosphate batteries (LFP).

Northvolt’s sodium-ion battery is based on a hard-carbon anode and a Prussian White-based cathode, and the Swedish battery manufacturer plans to be the first to industrialize and commercialize Prussian White-based batteries. 

“Our next step is to present these batteries to customers during 2024, and then gradually establish and scale up production throughout the following years,” Northvolt told Fastmarkets. 

The company is still in the process of finding partners to scale up this technology. 

Northvolt’s sodium-ion battery technology is primarily designed for energy storage system (ESS), with a potential application for electric vehicles in the future. 

“The low cost and safety at high temperatures make the technology especially attractive for ESS in the upcoming markets including India, the Middle East and Africa,” the company said in a statement. 

Sodium-ion batteries have a lower cost and are less reliant on critical raw materials such as nickel, cobalt and lithium, which makes sodium-ion batteries an attractive alternative to lithium-ion batteries like lithium-iron-phosphate, nickel-cobalt-manganese and nickel-cobalt-aluminum batteries. 

However, the decline in lithium chemical prices since late 2022 amid slowdown in electric vehicle growth has sparked a debate on the need for sodium-ion batteries as an alternative battery to lithium-ion batteries.

Fastmarkets’ weekly assessment of lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price range exw domestic China was 141,00-150,000 yuan per tonne on November 16, down from 590,000-605,000 yuan per tonne on November 17, 2022. 

Fastmarkets’ research team has forecast that the global sodium-ion battery usage for ESS is 0.1% in 2023 and will reach up to 9% by 2033. Currently, 70-80% of the battery used for ESS is LFP, with 95% of the overall batteries for ESS being lithium-ion batteries.

Keep up to date with the latest lithium prices, data and forecasts on our dedicated lithium price page.

Dec 6-7 | Shanghai

Meet the Chinese and international market in the global hub of battery manufacturing. Enjoy expert insights and unique networking opportunities.

What to read next
Battery recyclers Huayou Recycling, of China, and Tozero, of Germany, have announced an agreement in which they will partner on the supply and processing of battery scrap in Europe, Fastmarkets has learned.
As we move to a more sustainable future and electric vehicles start to dominate. Does battery swapping offer a viable option for the future?
The gloomy economic tone at the conference was compensated by the large numbers of delegates in attendance and cheerful networking. 1. Slow growth in China Slow growth in China continued to spook market participants. Those who have recently returned from trips there shared anecdotes and photographs on social media of blue skies and a lack […]
Zinc producer Korea Zinc has entered into a $140 million investment agreement with Trafigura to build an “all-in-one” nickel refinery, it said on Friday November 17
China’s combined output of power batteries and energy storage system (ESS) batteries declined by 0.1% month on month in October to 77.3 gigawatt hours (GWh) from 77.4 GWh in September, according to the latest data from China Automotive Battery Innovation Alliance (CABIA)
China’s lithium prices continued to soften in the week to Thursday November 16, remaining under downward pressure from persistently weak buying appetite and bearish sentiment