Natron Energy, a manufacturer of sodium-ion batteries, and Clarios International Inc., a manufacturer of low-voltage advanced battery technologies for mobility, will collaborate to manufacture the first mass-produced sodium-ion batteries.
The Clarios Meadowbrook facility will become the world’s largest sodium-ion battery plant when mass production begins in 2023. This collaboration will place the United States at the forefront of sodium-ion battery manufacturing.
Natron has spent 10 years developing sodium-ion battery chemistry for mass manufacturing. In 2020, ARPA-E awarded the company $20 million through the SCALEUP program to increase production of its sodium-ion batteries by 30x. (Earlier post.) In 2021, Natron released the world’s first UL-listed sodium-ion battery product.
Multiple fortune 500 companies have validated Natron’s technology through independent testing and real-world deployments. Critically, Natron’s sodium-ion batteries do not contain lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, or other minerals that have driven recent pricing volatility of the lithium-ion supply chain. Without conflict minerals, dependency on foreign mining projects or scarce materials, customers can be confident of the availability of Natron’s batteries at stable pricing. Additionally, Natron’s sodium-ion batteries do not experience thermal runaway, making them safe for transport and disposal without the risk of fire.
Today, Natron’s batteries are used primarily for critical power applications such as data centers and telecom networks. Future applications may also include electric vehicles and grid energy storage.
Natron’s batteries are manufactured using the same tools and equipment used for lithium-ion manufacturing. This similarity in manufacturing requirements enables Natron and Clarios to leverage a portion of the Clarios Meadowbrook lithium-ion facility for sodium-ion manufacturing, at a lower cost and faster time to market compared to building a new factory.
Under this agreement, electrodes and large format cells based on Natron’s proprietary Prussian blue electrode sodium-ion chemistry will be manufactured in an existing plant owned by Clarios in Holland, Michigan. The Clarios Meadowbrook plant was built as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) program signed into law by President Obama and has produced automotive lithium-ion cells for the past decade.
With support from the US Department of Energy’s ARPA-E agency through the SCALEUP program, Natron will install new cell assembly equipment in the Clarios Meadowbrook plant to enable mass production of sodium-ion cells for its customers in the industrial power market.
This project marks the beginning of a new era for Natron, in which we move from product development to serving our customers at a massive scale. Natron is grateful for the continued support from ARPA-E and Clarios which has helped make this project possible.—Colin Wessells, Natron’s founder and CEO