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.
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.
US Patent application US20200243916A1: Electrolyte Element and a Cell Incorporating the Electrolyte Element