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ion Ventures and LiNa Energy conclude successful test of solid-state sodium-nickel battery platform

ion Ventures, a modern utility and energy storage infrastructure specialist, and LiNa Energy, a solid-state battery technology developer, concluded their first successful trial of LiNa’s proprietary solid-state sodium-nickel battery platform at an undisclosed location in South East England last week.

LiNa Energy is commercializing a safe, ~$50kWh (at mass manufacturing), cobalt-free battery platform that is suited to grid storage and the electrification of transportation. ion Ventures is leading the deployment of the battery in a real-world environment with a view to deploying it into the grid storage market in the future.

LiNa’s senior team has accumulated decades of materials engineering and design for manufacturing experience in the fuel cell industry. Using this skill set, they developed the LiNa Platform, an innovative re-engineering of the operationally proven sodium-nickel-chloride (Na-NiCl2) chemistry, where power is produced by sodium ions conducting across a fast sodium ion conducting ceramic membrane in the solid-state.

The battery is constructed from easily sourced, low-cost materials and does not contain any cobalt or lithium. It operates at a wide range of temperatures and does not require expensive cooling systems. Furthermore, the battery chemistry is inherently safe thus making it attractive to a range of different sectors, including the grid storage sector targeted by ion Ventures.

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The aim of the trial with ion Ventures was to demonstrate the ability to charge and discharge a module that contained several cells using LiNa’s patented system design, which included optimized thermal and electrical management and control systems. The partners regarded the trial as a complete success, with the system demonstrating the capability to charge and discharge in accordance with expectations.

E4Tech, a London-based clean-tech specialist consultancy, performed an independent, strategic scoping study of stationary grid storage application based upon LiNa’s technology. They identified that LiNa’s platform was superior to existing lithium ion-based storage, especially in distribution, generation level storage and behind the meter owing to superior CAPEX, OPEX, LCC, battery self-discharge and safety metrics.

In January, LiNa energy announced a four-year industry-sponsored research program with Imperial College London. Under the supervision of Professor Stephen Skinner and Dr Ainara Aguadero, the doctoral-level research will further explore LiNa’s solid-state separator sodium-nickel-chloride battery chemistry using world-leading analytical equipment.

LiNa Energy was formed in the summer of 2017 as a spin-out of Lancaster University.

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Comments

Engineer-Poet

Now THIS has some potential!  $50/kWh!

GdB

Perhaps the technical risks have been reduced enough that it's worth accelerating to start manufacturing for grid storage and EV ASAP! Seems like a huge cost improvement.

Engineer-Poet

Hmmm, nothing on cycle life though.

At 7% interest, 2000 cycles lifespan and cycling daily, the battery would cost 9.1¢/kWh run through it.  At 5000 cycles, it would cost 3.4¢/kWh.

At 2000 cycles it appears marginal.  At 5000 cycles it looks pretty good for managing evening peaks or time-shifting of overnight nuclear generation to demand peaks.

Engineer-Poet

Sorry, that should be 4.7¢/kWh for 5000 cycles.  I calculated the # of payments wrong.

Nick Lyons

No cobalt, no lithium, just abundant sodium and nickel. We're talking scalable.

Engineer-Poet

Not quite as abundant as sodium and sulfur, but perfect is the enemy of good enough.

gryf

Based on the patent, this is an advanced Zebra battery (which is not bad). It also has significantly greater energy and power density, from the patent:
"Furthermore the total energy available per unit volume of a cell of the invention is about 0.43 kWh/L, which is considerably greater than is achievable with ZEBRA cells (0.13 kWh/L), while the power available per unit volume is about 1.9 kW/L, which is approximately twice that available from a modern rechargeable lithium ion battery, and many times greater than that available from a ZEBRA cell (0.04 kW/L)." So this looks like 350 Wh/kg. Temperatures look similar between 200-300 degrees C.
The GE Duration battery (similar chemistry) would last 20 years. GE no longer makes this battery, however it is a battery systems integrator and has expertise in this technology.
As E-P points out, this would be great combined with Nuclear using thermal energy to maintain battery at 200 degrees C

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