Perspective | Published:

A cost and resource analysis of sodium-ion batteries

Nature Reviews Materials volume 3, Article number: 18013 (2018) | Download Citation

Abstract

Sodium-ion batteries have been identified as appealing alternatives to lithium-ion batteries because they are made from raw materials that are less expensive, more abundant and less toxic. However, the frequently discussed cost advantage of sodium-ion batteries has, so far, not been examined in detail. In this Perspective, we use the Battery Performance and Cost (BatPaC) model to undertake a cost analysis of the materials for sodium-ion and lithium-ion cells, as well as complete batteries, and determine the effect of exchanging lithium with sodium, as well as the effect of replacing the material used for the anode current collector foil, on the cost. Moreover, we compare the calculated production costs of exemplary sodium-ion and lithium-ion batteries and highlight the most relevant parameters for optimization. Finally, the major raw materials for lithium-ion cathodes are examined in terms of potential supply risks because supply issues may lead to increased costs. Through the use of a scenario-based supply and demand analysis, the risks to the supply of lithium and cobalt are assessed, and implications for battery research are discussed. Overall, we provide a broad and interdisciplinary perspective on modern batteries and future directions for this field, with a focus on sodium-ion batteries.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank L. Grande for fruitful discussions and acknowledge the financial support of the Helmholtz Association. J. Riegert and K. Peters are acknowledged for their help with preparing the manuscript text and figures before submission.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Helmholtz Institute Ulm, Department of Electrochemistry I, Ulm, Germany.

    • Christoph Vaalma
    • , Daniel Buchholz
    • , Marcel Weil
    •  & Stefano Passerini
  2. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany.

    • Christoph Vaalma
    • , Daniel Buchholz
    • , Marcel Weil
    •  & Stefano Passerini
  3. Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), Karlsruhe, Germany.

    • Marcel Weil

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Contributions

C.V. researched the data and conducted the calculations. C.V. and D.B. wrote the manuscript. All authors contributed to the discussion of the results and implications and commented on the manuscript at all stages. S.P. edited the manuscript before submission.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Daniel Buchholz or Stefano Passerini.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/natrevmats.2018.13