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

Once storage capacity of Fulin storage station reaches 100 MWh, 73,000 MWh of clean energy would be extracted every year
An undated image shows Sodium-ion battery. — iStock
An undated image shows Sodium-ion battery. — iStock

China's Fulin Sodium-ion Battery Energy Storage Station, after getting operational last week, is now online.

According to state-owned utility China Southern Power Grid Energy Storage, the first major sodium-ion battery energy storage station by China, possesses the storage capacity of 10 megawatt hours (MWh), which is expected to be increased to 100 MWh after getting established in a full fledged manner.

It was learned that the 10 MWh sodium-ion battery energy storage station utilises 210 Ah sodium-ion battery cells that are can be charged 90% in 12 minutes only, and the system contains 22,000 such cells.

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73,000 MWh of clean energy would be extracted every year out of the system once its storage capacity reaches 100 MWh. This extent of power generation would be sufficient to power 35,000 households, resulting in a substantial drop in emissions by almost 50,000 tonnes annually.

Gao Like, a manager at the Guangxi branch of China Southern Power Grid, said in an interview said that the energy conversion efficiency of its sodium-ion battery energy storage system is more than 92%, meaning that it could be compared to the efficiency of common lithium-ion battery storage systems whose conversion efficiency efficiency ranges between 85% and 95%.

Chen Man, a senior engineer at China Southern Power Grid, claimed the cost of sodium-ion battery energy storage station would be significantly reduced by 20-30% after its large-scale development is commenced.

"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," he added.

Compared to lithium-ion batteries, such large-scale sodium-ion batteries are on the rise these days since they're cheaper and there's an abundance of raw materials required to produce them.

The only problem which might have hindered its adoption is the lower energy density and shorter lifespans that take a toll on efficiency and long-term performance when deployed at large scale.