January 29, 2022

Vision Cim

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World’s first Sodium-ion solar generators to debut at CES 2022, and it may kickstart a move away from Lithium

Bluetti, a company known for its line of power stations, has unveiled what it is calling the world’s first sodium-ion solar power stations. With the new-age generators, the company aims to bring a viable replacement for lithium-ion batteries in its line of solar generators that can power homes.

For those unaware, Bluetti is a Las Vegas, US-headquartered power solutions firm that is mostly known for its state-of-the-art solar generators. The company made a name through its flagship model AC200, which received crowdfunding of nearly 7 million dollars in two months in 2020. Since then, Bluetti has built a strong portfolio of generators, photovoltaic or solar panels, and other energy production and storage solutions.

Just a few years following its inception, Bluetti is now ready to debut a completely new line of products at the upcoming CES 2022. As mentioned on its website, the company will showcase its NA300 solar power generator that uses a sodium-ion battery rather than a lithium-ion one. Alongside, it will debut the B480 sodium-ion battery packs meant to enhance the capacity of this generator.

Why Sodium?

Lithium-ion batteries have been the go-to solution for all things electrical, be it a smartphone in your hands or the latest Tesla you see on the roads. The USP of the battery technology is that it delivers some of the highest power density in a battery. It charges faster than batteries based on other materials and even lasts longer.

However, with the advent of electric vehicles and almost every machine shifting to electric mechanisms, there has been a drastic surge in the demand for lithium. The challenge that the world now faces is the lack of usable lithium, as extracting and refining it is a time-taking as well as a costly process. With the rapid increase in demand, the production of lithium for batteries simply cannot keep up.

Analysts have predicted a huge demand and supply gap in the upcoming years due to this. Energy solution providers are thus trying to come up with important alternatives that can bridge this gap.

Bluetti’s new solar generator is one such. Though a solar generator in itself is not new, the battery used in the NA300 is a major declaration in the energy storage industry, one of confidence in a new battery format. Sodium and lithium have very similar chemical properties and hence can be used in similar chemical reactions inside the battery. Moreover, Sodium is present on Earth in huge abundance and is not too tricky to be extracted. This is also why Sodium is much cheaper than lithium in the market.

And it works well for the new generator too. As per Bluetti, the new NA300 comes with up to 3000W of solar input capability. Add two B480 battery packs (4,800Wh each) to this, and the total capacity of NA300 can be extended to a whopping 12,600Wh. It even sports 6000W dual charging, going from 0 to 80 per cent in about 30 minutes.

It is thus, easy to see how the NA300 can be a game-changer in the energy storage space. If other OEMs make use of the sodium-ion batteries after this or not remains to be seen.