13 Dec 2015


Researchers within the RS2E network on electrochemical energy storage (Réseau sur le stockage électrochimique de l’énergie) in France have developed the first sodium-ion battery in an 18650 format. The main advantage of the prototype is that it relies on sodium, an element far more abundant and less costly than lithium.

The energy density of the new Na-ion cell is 90 Wh/kg, a figure comparable with the first lithium-ion batteries; its lifespan exceeds 2,000 care/discharge cycles. The cells are also capable of charging and delivering their energy very rapidly. While numerous other laboratories are also working on Na-ion batteries, none has yet announced the development of such an 18650 prototype.

Six partner laboratories of the RS2E were involved in the project with the goal to find the right composition for the sodium cathode. The development of a future prototype was then entrusted to CEA, a member of the RS2E network. In six months, CEA was able to develop the first sodium-ion prototype in the 18650 form - i.e. a cylinder 18mm in diameter and 65mm in height. This should facilitate technology transfer to existing production units.

The project has given rise to a number of CNRS and CEA academic publications and patents. It received financial support from the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research, the CNRS, CEA, the French National Research Agency (ANR) and the Ministry of Defence’s Armament Directorate (DGA), among others.

The next stage of the project is to optimize and increase the reliability of processes with a view to future commercialization.

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