China's CATL unveils 'milestone' sodium-ion battery

by Margaret Lau
CATL revealed it has already started industrial deployment of its sodium-ion tech. Image: CATL
Chinese automotive battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) has launched its first-generation sodium-ion battery, hailing the move as a "milestone solution” for clean energy technologies and e-mobility.

The chairman of the lithium-ion batteries giant, Dr Robin Zeng, also unveiled an ‘AB battery pack’ – which he said offers a ‘mix and match’ solution to integrate sodium-ion cells and lithium-ion cells into a single pack.

CATL said it has already started industrial deployment of its sodium-ion tech. The company plans to form a "basic industrial chain by 2023” and is inviting upstream suppliers, downstream customers and research bodies to work with the company and further develop the battery technology.

Energy density

Dr Qisen Huang, deputy dean of the CATL Research Institute, said sodium-ion battery manufacturing was "perfectly compatible” with Li-ion battery production equipment and processes – and production lines can be "rapidly switched to achieve a high-production capacity”.

The energy density of CATL's sodium-ion battery cell can achieve up to 160Wh/kg, and the battery can charge in 15 minutes to 80% state of charge at room temperature. In a low-temperature environment of -20°C, the sodium-ion battery has a capacity retention rate of more than 90%, and its system integration efficiency can reach more than 80%, the company said.

The next generation of sodium-ion batteries’ energy density development target is to exceed 200Wh/kg.

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