Simoldes invests €23 million on lithium battery alternative

 In Companies, News

Simoldes, a Portuguese company that has been making plastic moldes and tools since 1959, has invested €23 million in developing an alternative to lithium-powered batteries.

As part of its new business projects, the company has come up with a sodium ion battery (SIB), a type of rechargeable battery analogous to the lithium-ion battery but using sodium ions (Na+) as the charge carriers.
Its working principle and cell construction are almost identical with those of commercially widespread lithium-ion battery types, but sodium compounds are used instead of lithium compounds.
Sodium-ion batteries have received much academic and commercial interest since the 2010s and 2020s as a possible complementary technology to lithium-ion batteries, largely due to the uneven geographic distribution, high environmental impact and high cost of many of the elements required for lithium-ion batteries.
Chief among these are lithium, cobalt, copper and nickel, which are not strictly required for many types of sodium-ion batteries. The largest advantage of sodium-ion batteries is the high natural abundance of sodium. This would make commercial production of sodium-ion batteries less costly than lithium-ion batteries.
The engineering group based at Oliveira de Azeméis will construct a new factory to produce the sodium iron cells for batteries which will be used in the mobility and residential sectors from 2025. The project, approved on the back of the Portugal Recovery and Resilience Plan, will involve an investment of €27 million.
The company makes molded parts for the automotive industry with clients including Stellantis (Citroen, Peugeot, DS Automobiles, Opel), Renault Nissan Mitsubishi, Logan, VW Group (VW, Audi, Porsche, Seat, Skoda), Scania, Mercedes-Benz and for non-automotive areas. Simoldes is currently in 12 countries.