Sodium ion batteries: Yet another innovation poised to be dominated by China

Coming SiB boom will be a Chinese one while the West is years behind, industry watcher tells us

Interview The burgeoning sodium ion battery industry is poised for a big year, says one analyst, though the US and its friends may miss out as China whizzes by.

Shazan Siddiqi, senior technology analyst at IDTechEx, who recently wrote a report on sodium ion battery (SiB) production, told The Register next-gen SiBs with improved life cycles and higher energy densities over previous generations are on their way to market – though not in or from the West.

"The blunt truth … is that China is leading the race to sodium ion commercialization," Siddiqi told us in an interview you can replay below. "They have over 50 companies that are in the lab stage, and then there's probably about five to eight companies who are ready to commercialize … in the next few years." 

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"We're just not seeing those sorts of numbers in the Western world, whether that's in Europe or the US," he added. 

Of course, that doesn't mean SiBs are soon to be ubiquitous. Siddiqi doesn't think they'll replace lithium ion batteries in most of our consumer electronics or electric cars, and will likely land in low-speed micro vehicles and other products. They're also likely to generally replace lead acid batteries, he added. 

Regardless, it's going to take years for the West to catch up with China's development of a tech designed to help the West escape its dependency on Chinese-mined lithium, he told The Register

"The tale itself is really quite ironic if you think about it," Siddiqi said. You can catch our whole interview in the video above. ®

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