CPI partners with LiNa Energy to create next-generation battery technology

07 Feb 2020

CPI today announced the success of its £250,000 collaborative project with LiNa Energy and Lancaster University to demonstrate the proof-of-concept LiNa’s novel sodium-nickel-chloride battery technology. LiNa’s battery is a radical alternative to the incumbent lithium-cobalt ion battery, offering cheaper, more efficient, better-performing, smaller and safer energy storage. With further development, this technology could help to transform the automotive and power grid industries by facilitating the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

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There are significant pressures on industry to decarbonise and limit the impacts of climate change. Cheap, scalable batteries could greatly increase the capacity to store and exploit energy from renewable sources. At present, lithium-cobalt ion batteries, the current gold standard of battery technologies, are failing to fulfil this role. They are limited by low operating temperatures (<60°C) that require complex and costly system packages. Moreover, the rapidly increasing cost of cobalt due to limited global reserves – together with safety concerns and issues with weight and cost – all contribute to an urgent and growing demand for alternative battery technologies.

CPI has partnered with LiNa Energy, a Lancaster-based SME, and the University of Lancaster to modernise the sodium-nickel-chloride battery and meet this demand. The battery is composed of highly recyclable and low-cost materials that crucially do not include cobalt or lithium. Moreover, by operating at a higher temperature than lithium-ion batteries, LiNa’s technology promises to deliver an enhanced performance. This will help to facilitate the wide-scale adoption of batteries in sectors such as electric vehicles and renewable grid storage. 

Funded by Innovate UK, CPI leveraged its expertise in battery technology and state-of-the-art facilities to investigate processing methodologies and to help develop the proof-of-concept for the large-scale, low-cost manufacture of LiNa’s technology. The project was completed successfully, demonstrating LiNa’s novel sodium-nickel-chloride battery in operation.

This success has enabled LiNa to secure a prestigious UK grant for a £1 million project and close a significant capital raise. In addition, CPI, LiNa Energy and Lancaster University have continued their collaboration, submitting a further grant application for development funding.

Dr Gene Lewis, LiNa Energy Chief Executive said:​“I am delighted with the outcomes of our collaboration with CPI. This project has advanced our sodium-nickel-chloride battery technology, demonstrating its enormous potential to decarbonise automotive transport and provide efficient and effective energy storage solutions”

Tony Jackson, Formulation Business Unit Director at CPI said: The unique formulation capabilities provided by CPI have helped to prove that sodium-nickel-chloride battery technology can overcome the drawbacks to lithium-ion batteries. By demonstrating the technology’s low-cost scalability and higher operating efficiency, this project will play a crucial role in decarbonising the automotive and power grid industries.’

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