Project LiNa-Wave: Development of a working model solid-state battery system for maritime applications

Lead Participant: LINA ENERGY LTD


In Project _LiNa-Wave_, the partners will demonstrate proof-of-concept for a sodium-nickel-chloride (NaNiCl2) battery platform for maritime applications.

There is an acute need for solutions that deliver zero-emission shipping. In spite of the introduction of hybrid vessels, maritime GHGs are currently on track to increase by between 50% and 250% by 2050, enough to undermine Paris Agreement targets.

Cost, secure-supply chain, performance and safety credentials give NaNiCl2 batteries many advantages over the dominant lithium-ion battery (LiB) solutions, and make the LiNa platform ideal to provide power and auxiliary services in marine applications.

LiB use in maritime applications is hampered by serious, unresolved safety issues arising from the flammable organics at their core, making them prone to catastrophic thermal events \[fires, explosions\]. This inherently unstable chemistry also makes LiB recycling dangerous and expensive; no UK facilities exist to recycle LiBs at high volumes . They rely on increasingly scarce elements, notably lithium throughout and cobalt in their cathode. Other solutions, such as hydrogen fuel cells or switching to bio-fuels, could reduce fossil-fuel use but take-up is likely to advance slowly due to the large port infrastructure investments required for refuelling and maintenance.

The LiNa battery, in contrast, requires no materials on the European critical raw materials list; the electrolyte is made from cheap, abundant, electro-ceramics, Their inert nature means they cannot catch fire, offering a huge safety advantage over LiBs. In an earlier project, LiNa has established that existing processes can be used to recycle NaNiCl2 batteries, with a theoretical recovery rate above 95%. LiNa's modelling, independently validated by third-party experts, forecasts a cost of $50 per kWh once mass production begins, half that of LiB.

In this project, the partners will define a comprehensive and quantified set of end-user requirements, they will define a test protocol which they will follow to prove the ability of the NaNiCl2 system to meet these requirements. Trial results will be independently validated. In preparation for a follow-on project to demonstrate the prototype, they will carry out modelling to determine the optimal design of the system in the maritime environment. A survey of applicable regulation will be undertaken, and results incorporated into the design. Paths to warranty and certification of the future product will be defined. A spec for the follow-on project will be produced, which will also define the necessary commercial arrangements.

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