Sodium batteries are a key technology for replacing current lithium-ion technology, with the world's lithium resources expected to be exhausted between 2025 and 2040.
Two UK companies, Ionotec and Lucideon, are working on Field Enhanced Sintering (FES) for making the alumina solid electrolytes. This could revolutionise sodium battery design by enabling lower temperature operation, reducing costs and improving safety and market acceptability for EVs say the companies.
FES processing has the potential to reduce the sintering times and temperatures for the ceramic alumina electrolyte and boost its properties for sodium EV batteries. Materials specialist Lucideon in Stoke was formed from the merger of Ceram and M+P Labs and has developed FES for processing structural ceramics. Improving the electrolyte fabrication process and increase ceramic strength would allow thinner layers and lower resistance with benefits for sodium battery design and performance.
Ionotec in Cheshire was set up in 1995 as a management buyout of the former sodium-sulphur (NaS) battery developer Silent Power, and has R&D and pilot-scale manufacturing, developing soldium battery systems.
The project , backed by InnovateUK, started in April and will take a year.