CATL Will Mass Produce Sodium-Ion Batteries in 2023

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL) plans to start mass production of its sodium-ion batteries in 2023. CATL has setup a large supply chain for the batteries and has entered negotiations with some carmakers about their use. Sodium-ion batteries have sodium-ion batteries have already been commercialized in e-bikes and energy storage.

Sodium is 2.3% of the world’s crust. It is over 1000 times more abundant than lithium.

CATL is the world’s largest battery company and is the major battery supplier to Tesla.

CATL’s battery capacity is expected to reach more than 670 GWh by 2025 according to current estimates and has announced a target capacity of 1200 GWh per year perhaps as a runrate by the end of 2025 or in 2026. The company plans to raise up to RMB 45 billion in total from an equity offering to no more than 35 specific targets to support its further expansion. CATL’s lithium-ion battery capacity in 2021 was 170.39 GWh, and the lithium-ion battery production lines that have been completed and put into operation will have a combined design annual capacity scale of 260 GWh to 280 GWh after stable operation.

In August 2022, CATL announced a €7.34 billion euros (~$7.4 billion USD) investment into a 100 GWh battery plant in Debrecen of east Hungary.

CATL’s first generation of sodium-ion batteries has the advantages of high-energy density, fast-charging capability, excellent thermal stability, great low-temperature performance and high-integration efficiency, among others. The energy density of CATL’s sodium-ion battery cell can achieve up to 160Wh/kg, and the battery can charge in 15 minutes to 80% SOC at room temperature. Moreover, in a low-temperature environment of -20°C, the sodium-ion battery has a capacity retention rate of more than 90%, and its system integration efficiency can reach more than 80%. The sodium-ion batteries’ thermal stability exceeds the national safety requirements for traction batteries. The first generation of sodium-ion batteries can be used in various transportation electrification scenarios, especially in regions with extremely low temperatures, where its outstanding advantages become obvious. Also, it can be flexibly adapted to the application needs of all scenarios in the energy storage field.

Mainstream lithium ion batteries have 200-300 watt-hours per kilogram. Last year, CATL unveiled its first sodium battery prototype and said it has been experimenting with new technologies to create a second-generation sodium battery that can achieve 200 watt-hours per kilogram.

CATL has been dedicated to the research and development of sodium-ion battery electrode materials for many years. For the cathode, CATL has applied Prussian white material with a higher specific capacity and redesigned the bulk structure of the material by rearranging the electrons, which solved the worldwide problem of rapid capacity fading upon material cycling. In terms of anode materials, CATL has developed a hard carbon material that features a unique porous structure, which enables the abundant storage and fast movement of sodium ions, and also an outstanding cycle performance.

29 thoughts on “CATL Will Mass Produce Sodium-Ion Batteries in 2023”

  1. The supply vs demand has something to do with lithium’s high cost, but another part is the insatiable demand for batteries for stationary storage and the inability to develop and very quickly bring online the mining and processing of raw materials for batteries.

  2. A couple of questions:

    1) What does 1000x more abundant translate into real figure end user savings?

    2) Will the Sodium ion chemistry allow for denser batteries? Can we get to 500 Wh/kg in the next 5 to 10 years?

    • Sodium is heavier than lithium, but not that much of the electrode assembly is made of the actual lithium or sodium in question. So the change in material does add weight, but not as much as we might think.

  3. Grid level batteries are greatly needed with the price range of 40 to 70 dollar to 1kwh.
    This can end the need for carbon based electricity.

    • We will be using carbon to produce electricity for a very long time. Decrease yes. Eliminate no. Until the world gets their head around the scenario that nuclear and renewables is the correct combination for the grid and not just all renewables, we will not eliminate carbon based energy.

      • You’ve got that exactly backwards. The high price and long deployment time of nuclear plants is why nuclear is a bad option, and why the fossil fuel folks support nuclear (as a delaying tactic)!

        The cost of solar plus wind plus storage is already lower than nuclear, and MUCH faster to deploy (less than 2 years). And the costs of all three renewables continue to drop!

  4. Interesting note about NaIon batteries is that they can discharge to 0v, something no lithium battery can do. They also do not thermal runaway like lithium or burn at all. The sodium is in a non flammable solution, and the other components dont burn either.

  5. Also should be good for boats where volumetric energy density is more relevant than gravimetric. A boat often needs ballast for stability so the modest weight penalty should be all but irrelevant whereas the 40 to 50% cost savings (derived from other reports) should be highly attractive for canal and river boats etc.

  6. Sodium batteries will change world scene of evs. Chiep , no fire risk and fast charging will make evs chieper then petrol / diesel cars. We can start with sodium two wheeler batteries
    IIT in India is already making sodium battery for cycles

  7. Rolling battery mule swap at 40 mph is a perfect match for sodium-ion cells. Lithium has been under attack by the detractors for years and they have been effective in their damage. Sodium blows that tactic up.

  8. Sound hopeful. And hopefully cheaper per KwHr. Could be power wall battery if so.
    Or hybrid petrol/ammonia with battery. For like Ford Ranger type. Or minivan/suv.
    What generation lithium batterys on now?

  9. A friend of mine in the Battery business says that banks only want to lend for Lithium. This must be based upon government loans.

  10. I like the trend. Sodium-ion technology is at its early phases, and like lithium, likely to have quite a few forthcoming generations that’ll be distinct improvements. The present 1000 g/kg / 160 Wh/kg = 6 kg/kWh is neither attractive nor laughable. Respectable. But not revolutionary.

    STILL … if you need 100 kWh in your car to get about 350 miles of range then that’s only 600 kg of these batteries. That and another 150 kg in heavy-duty fire-resistant and impact-super-resistant housing, cooling, wiring, sensors and so forth.

    1500 lbs. Perfect for mid-sized to larger SUV style cars. And hopefully cheaper than the equivalent capacity of lithium, due entirely to sodium being essentially free. (i mean … the oceans are FULL of it, and great mounds of salt are harvested every year by solar evaporators all over the world. It truely is ubiquitous. )


    • Using a material 1000 times more abundant than lithium with an energy density more than half is not revolutionary? That 1000 fold quantity alone constitues itself as a qualitative leap that will send lithium to a place marginal application where it belongs anyway.

      • earths crust has about:
        Sodium 23,000ppm
        Nitrogen 50ppm
        Lithium 20ppm
        Lead 14ppm
        Boron 10ppm

        Yes there is a 1000 more than sodium. However we have been mining lead for thousands of years and we have not rum out. Boron and nitrogen are critical for all life on earth. there would be no living thing on the planet without them. lithium as well as sea water ispressent in the ocean. There is enough lithium in the ocean to make enough battereies to replace are cars and trucks to lithium. with a lot still left in the ocean and more in the soil and rock.

        We will never run out of lithium. The current high cost of lithium is due to not enough extraction and purification facilities. More are being built and when supply catches put to demand lithium prices will fall.

      • No, not really. The manufacturing cost can easily be almost as expensive as lithium ion batteries using materials that are 1000 times as cheap (e.g. see CPU dies which are almost entirely made from worthless hyper-abundant silicon).

  11. I assume that it is a cheaper battery per Kw. Will have applications initially where range is less of an issue. Maybe in the $5000 “cars” that they make i China also cheap city cars elsewhere.

    • Also, I’d imagine, in static applications. I have plenty of room for batteries on my property, and if I can get them substantially cheaper than LI batteries at the cost of using up more space, I might be inclined.

      • In static applications, the figure of merit should be charge/discharge cycle life. I just replaced original lead acid battery in minivan after 7-years. I hate changing phones, so I use them until the battery gives up the ghost (2-3 years). Every NiMH AA and C cell I’ve bought for the kids toys has become useless over the past 5 years with low duty – won’t be buying any more of them – NiCd lives longer. If I get 20 years out of a roof, windows, driveway, I’m not about to finance a battery pack that decays below 80% capacity before 20 years. The lead acid type have to be nearly 100% recyclable. What do I know? Not impressed with batteries – fuel cells likely have a better point of use carbon footprint.

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