Sodium-ion battery cathode producer Altris AB (earlier post) signed a deal with AB Sandvik Materials Technology to house the company’s first industrial-scale manufacturing facility in Sandviken. The new facility, called ‘Ferrum’, will have the annual capacity to produce 2000 metric tonnes of Altris’ cathode material Fennac, enabling 1GWh of sustainable sodium-ion batteries to enter the market each year.
The site for Ferrum was selected based on the infrastructure and onsite expertise that is available, which will facilitate the installation and ongoing support needs for the production facility. This expertise derives from the Sandvik AB’s long industrial experience in Sweden. The site also allows for upscaling of production in the years to come.
The location decision was also made based on Sandviken Municipality’s and the Gävleborg Region’s particular support of new industrial developments in the region that support the move towards a fossil-free energy future.
Ferrum will be the first industrial home for the production of Fennac, a sodium-ion battery cathode material that is sustainable, due to the non-toxic and abundant elements of which it consists. Fennac (often called “Prussian White” among battery researchers) is a framework material consisting of sodium, iron carbon and nitrogen (NaxFe[Fe(CN)6] with x>1.9). The large pores inside the material enable the capture and storage of a range of atoms or molecules making the compound highly interesting for a range of applications.
Although this type of material is not new in itself, Altris has developed a method to produce Fennac in a form that is ideal for use as a positive electrode material in sodium-ion batteries. The utilization of the iron as a source of electrons and completely filling the material with sodium provides a theoretical capacity of 170 mAh/g and average voltage output of 3.2 V vs sodium.
Fennac is produced via a patented low-temperature and -pressure synthesis route, in a fully-sodiated form, obligatory for application as a cathode material.
Work to establish production in the 1800 m2 Ferrum facility will begin in the spring of 2022, with the first output expected to materialize in early 2023. Sandviken becomes the third of Altris’ locations, joining the company’s Head Office and Research Laboratory in Uppsala and Sales Office in Guangzhou, China.