China’s first large-scale sodium-ion battery charges to 90% in 12 minutes

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China’s first major sodium-ion battery energy storage station is now online, according to state-owned utility China Southern Power Grid Energy Storage.

The Fulin Sodium-ion Battery Energy Storage Station entered operation on May 11 in Nanning, the capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in southern China. Its initial storage capacity is said to be 10 megawatt hours (MWh). Once fully developed, the Station is expected to reach a total capacity of 100 MWh.

The state utility says the 10 MWh sodium-ion battery energy storage station uses 210 Ah sodium-ion battery cells that charge to 90% in a mindblowing 12 minutes. The system comprises 22,000 cells.

Once the project reaches 100 MWh, it could release 73,000 MWh of clean energy each year. That’s enough to power 35,000 households and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50,000 tonnes annually.

In an interview with China Central Television, Gao Like, a manager at the Guangxi branch of China Southern Power Grid, said that the energy conversion efficiency of its sodium-ion battery energy storage system exceeds 92%. It’s comparable to the efficiency of common lithium-ion battery storage systems, at 85-95%.

Chen Man, a senior engineer at China Southern Power Grid, said [via the South China Morning Post] that once sodium-ion battery energy storage enters the stage of large-scale development, its cost can be reduced by 20-30%. He continued:

This can be achieved through further improvements in the sodium-ion battery structure, manufacturing process, material utilization, and cycle life, thus lowering the energy storage cost per kilowatt-hour of electricity.

Large-scale sodium-ion batteries are gaining momentum due to their lower cost and abundance of raw materials compared to lithium-ion batteries. The challenges with sodium-ion batteries have been lower energy density and shorter lifespans that can limit efficiency and long-term performance in large-scale applications.

Read more: A new sodium-ion battery breakthrough means they may one day power EVs


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