Salt batteries, also known as salt accumulators, are devices that store energy: the goal, so to speak, is the same as lithium batteries, but the internal chemical composition changes. This type of accumulator is called “salt” due to the very high presence of sodium chloride (32%): sodium is an element of the periodic table which, compared to the lithium of canonical batteries, is easier to find and is also recyclable, even if it has a
However, all that glitters is not gold: as we mentioned at the beginning, not only are salt batteries more expensive than lithium ones, but they also have a strong nickel component (20%), by far the element most present after sodium and followed to a lesser extent by ceramics, iron, copper and various elements. Salt batteries
Nickel, compared to sodium, is more difficult to find and requires special precautions in the context of disposal so as not to impact nature.
Composition and operation
But how are salt batteries specifically made? Forgive us for the brief technical parenthesis, it is necessary to better understand this technology.
Each cell in the charged state sees a positive electrode of copper and nickel chloride (cathode) and a negative one of liquid sodium (anode): separating the two electrodes is a ceramic tube called beta-aluminate ceramic electrolyte. The contact between the latter and the positive electrode is ensured by a molten secondary electrolyte. We won’t go into too many details, however know that the operation is based on reaching high temperatures to melt a specific element, in this case sodium (97.8°C): essentially, salt batteries work with a range between 270°C and 350°C. Salt batteries
Where do salt batteries come from?
Despite their rather recent use, salt batteries were actually born in the distant 1980s in South Africa: behind this intuition is Zeolite Battery Research (Zebra) which invents the Zebra Battery. A very old story, therefore, which sees the company in question change various properties, an element that in fact greatly slows down the economic investments and the market development of this type of technology. An important turning point came with the Italian company Elettra 1938, which managed to produce these components in series under the name of FZSoNick, making them adopted by some bus companies.
Also in the rest of the world salt batteries find several companies very interested in their production: the best known example is that of CATL, a Chinese company considered the largest battery manufacturer in the world. Even the Italian company AMG Italian Energy Storage, despite its young age, is making an important contribution to the widespread development of this technology.
Pros and cons of batteries
So what are the advantages and disadvantages of this technology? Why should you invest in it? Salt batteries, as already indicated, constitute an extremely valid solution for moving towards energy sustainability: in addition to being recyclable, they have a long life, do not require maintenance, do not present a fire risk and are not toxic to humans . In addition, they can also operate at low ambient temperatures due to the excellent thermal insulation and, not being affected by temperature variations, they have a constant effectiveness that does not decrease with prolonged use. An extremely interesting and positive picture, therefore.
Unfortunately, there are also some disadvantages: a turning point when discharged, salt batteries need about 10-12 hours to return to the internal operating temperature, making them unsuitable for occasional and fast charges. In addition, the dimensions do not allow the use of small devices (such as cell phones) and there is not yet a capillary and tested distribution chain like that of lithium batteries.
-Enea in the European energy storage research network
Create the first European network of research infrastructures on energy storage, to encourage the growth and diffusion of renewable sources.
This is the objective of the StoRIES project in which Enea, Cnr, Eni and 43 other partners from 17 European countries participate, including the German research center Karlsruhe Institut Fur Technologie in the role of coordinator. The four-year project is funded with 7 million under the European Horizon 2020 program and involves research institutions, technological institutes, universities, industries, members of the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) and associations, including the European Storage Association of Energy (EASE). Enea will participate with eight infrastructures including a hi-tech laboratory to develop innovative materials for medium temperature thermal storage, a solar park among the largest in the world for the research and construction of molten salt concentration plants and a supercomputer in capable of performing up to 1.4 trillion mathematical operations per second (1.4 PetaFlop).
“StoRIES is a strategic project for Enea and for Italy, as it will allow to deepen and decline the concept of hybridization of the various forms of storage, chemical, thermal and electrochemical, in synergy with numerous European research groups”, he says Giorgio Graditi, director general of Enea. “In this context, like Enea, we will make available our CRESCO supercomputer, second in terms of computing power and speed in Italy, the experimental platform dedicated to the development and characterization of new materials and components for thermal storage, the dedicated laboratory to the study and testing of power-to-gas, hydrogen and methane technologies and other unique facilities in Italy”, concludes Graditi. In addition to making European-level research infrastructures and services accessible, the partners will work on the development and dissemination of energy storage systems, on the creation of new, more sustainable materials, on reducing the cost of technologies, but also on social acceptance through training and information activities. A specific focus will be on the issue of hybridization – i.e. the integration of different technologies and/or storage systems with the aim of increasing flexibility and efficiency in the sector – which will subsequently lead to the definition of a specific roadmap.
-Ford taps Michigan for new LFP battery plant; new battery chemistry offers customers value, durability, fast charging, creates 2,500 more new american jobs
Ford is the first automaker to commit to build both nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) and lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries in the U.S., helping America’s No. 2 EV company in 2022 bring EVs to more customers and diversify its U.S. supply chain
Ford is investing $3.5 billion to build an LFP battery plant in Marshall, Michigan; this wholly owned subsidiary is part of Ford’s $50 billion+ global push to lead the EV revolution. Initial production slated for 2026 with 2,500 employees to start
Adding LFP batteries to Ford’s EV lineup this year – starting with Mustang Mach-E – and backing a U.S. LFP battery plant are key parts of the company’s Ford+ plan; this helps Ford scale more quickly, making EVs more accessible and affordable for customers Ford LFP new-battery chemistry
LFP batteries are exceptionally durable using fewer high-demand, high-cost materials and will help power a variety of Ford’s next-generation of EV passenger vehicles and pickups; new LFP plant will add approximately 35 gigawatt hours (GWh) of LFP battery capacity
Ford and its battery tech collaborators have announced $17.6 billion in investment in EV and battery production in the United States since 2019, leading to more than 18,000 direct jobs in the U.S. and more than 100,000 indirect jobs
Building on Ford’s commitment to American manufacturing, Ford announced today it is investing $3.5 billion to build the country’s first automaker-backed LFP battery plant, offering customers a second battery technology within Ford’s EV lineup. Ford LFP new-battery chemistry
This plant – called BlueOval Battery Park Michigan – initially will employ 2,500 people when production of LFP batteries begins in 2026. Ford will have the option to further grow its battery capacity at its Marshall, Michigan, plant, which will be part of a wholly owned Ford subsidiary.
With this $3.5 billion investment, Ford and its battery tech collaborators have announced $17.6 billion in investments in electric vehicle and battery production in the United States since 2019, as part of the company’s commitment to invest over $50 billion in electric vehicles globally through 2026. In the next three years, these investments will lead to more than 18,000 direct jobs in Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Missouri and more than 100,000 indirect jobs, according to the methodology from a 2020 independent study. Ford LFP new-battery chemistry
“We are committed to leading the electric vehicle revolution in America, and that means investing in the technology and jobs that will keep us on the cutting edge of this global transformation in our industry,” said Bill Ford, Ford executive chair. “I am also proud that we chose our home state of Michigan for this critical battery production hub.”
Diversifying and localizing Ford’s battery supply chain in the countries where it builds EVs will improve availability and affordability for customers while strengthening consumer demand. Ford is working to deliver an annual run rate of 600,000 electric vehicles globally by the end of this year and 2 million globally by the end of 2026 as part of its Ford+ plan. Ford LFP new-battery chemistry
As the company rapidly scales EV production, introducing LFP batteries allows Ford to produce more electric vehicles and offer more choices to new EV customers, and helps support the company’s goal of an 8 percent EBIT margin for Model e by 2026.
Offering LFP as a second battery chemistry – in addition to nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) – allows Ford customers to choose an electric vehicle with unique battery performance characteristics most aligned with their needs.
LFP batteries are very durable and tolerate more frequent and faster charging while using fewer high-demand, high-cost materials. This lower-cost battery, at scale, will help Ford contain or even further reduce EV prices for customers.
These LFP batteries will power a variety of affordable, next-generation Ford EV passenger vehicles and trucks under development, most of which will be assembled in the U.S. Ford LFP new-battery chemistry
“Ford’s electric vehicle lineup has generated huge demand. To get as many Ford EVs to customers as possible, we’re the first automaker to commit to build both NCM and LFP batteries in the United States,” said Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO. “We’re delivering on our commitments as we scale LFP and NCM batteries and thousands, and soon millions, of customers will begin to reap the benefits of Ford EVs with cutting-edge, durable battery technologies that are growing more affordable over time.”
Even before the new battery plant opens, Ford will introduce LFP batteries on Mustang Mach-E this year and F-150 Lightning in 2024 to increase production capacity, with a goal of reducing wait times for customers. Ford LFP new-battery chemistry
Commitment to American Manufacturing
This all-new battery production facility in Michigan will add approximately 35 gigawatt hours per year of new battery capacity for Ford in the U.S. initially – capable of powering approximately 400,000 future Ford EVs.
“Ford’s $3.5 billion investment creating 2,500 good-paying jobs in Marshall building electric vehicle batteries will build on Michigan’s economic momentum,” said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
“Today’s generational investment by an American icon will uplift local families, small businesses, and the entire community and help our state continue leading the future of mobility and electrification. Ford LFP new-battery chemistry
Let’s continue bringing the supply chain of electric vehicles, chips, and batteries home while creating thousands of good-paying jobs and revitalizing every region of our state.
Since I took office, we’ve secured over 30,000 auto jobs and landed multiple electric vehicle and chip-making factories. We’re on the move, so let’s keep our foot on the accelerator.”
As part of Ford’s plan to offer a new battery chemistry and source in key regions where it produces EVs, Ford has reached a new agreement with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL) – the world’s leading battery manufacturer. Under the arrangement, Ford’s wholly owned subsidiary would manufacture the battery cells using LFP battery cell knowledge and services provided by CATL, which has operated 13 plants in Europe and Asia. Ford LFP new-battery chemistry
Ford engineers will integrate these LFP battery cells into its vehicles. This new agreement with CATL adds to Ford’s existing battery capacity and available battery technology made possible through a series of key collaborations – including with SK On and LG Energy Solution (LGES).
Sustainable EV Supply Chain
LFP battery technology helps reduce reliance on critical minerals such as nickel and cobalt and is in line with Ford’s work to create an EV supply chain that upholds its commitments to sustainability and human rights.
Ford already has committed to achieving carbon neutrality globally across its vehicles, operations and supply chain by 2050. Ford LFP new-battery chemistry
Ford was among the first American automakers to align with the international community to limit the impacts of global warming as part of the Paris Agreement and joined RouteZero, a global coalition working toward zero-emission cars and vans globally by 2040 and in leading markets like the U.S., Europe and China by 2035. Ford also was the first U.S. automaker to release a human rights report.
The company is ensuring that 245 acres at the southern edge of the site are placed into a conservation easement. This land, along the Kalamazoo River, will be preserved for generations to come and protected against future industrial development. Ford will work with government officials and community leaders to preserve natural resources and recreation near the facility, as part of its commitment to being a good neighbor. The Ford Fund also will contribute resources to help the community explore how to best enjoy this beautiful land. Ford LFP new-battery chemistry
“The City of Marshall welcomes this exciting new partnership with Ford Motor Company,” said Marshall Mayor Jim Schwartz. “This investment in the local community will lead to an influx of new jobs to Marshall and economic development throughout the area. We are especially excited to support Ford’s conservation easement which will preserve Michigan’s natural beauty along the Kalamazoo River.”