Altris, Stora Enso to develop sodium-ion anode from lignin

Swedish sodium-ion battery specialist Altris has partnered with Stora Enso, Finish-Swedish cellulose and paper maker, to drive the adaptation of the corporation’s hard carbon solution Lignode as an anode material in its sodium-ion battery cells.
Handshake
Image: Altris

Whereas cathodes are the key cost driver for lithium ion, the anode is the most expensive component in sodium-ion batteries. Hard carbon is the standard choice for sodium-ion anodes but production capacity lags that of sodium-ion cells, ramping up prices. 

The latest partnership announced between Altris and Stora Enso aims to develop hard carbon anode based on lignin, a by-product from the manufacturing of pulp.

Uppsala University spinoff Altris has a proprietary technology to produce Fennac (Prussian White) sodium-ion cathode matherial, which consists of sodium, iron carbon and nitrogen, and is now looking to pair it with Stora Enso’s hard carbon material Lignode.

Hard carbon materials have recently been derived from diverse precursors such as animal waste, sewage sludge, glucose, cellulose, wood, coal, and petroleum.

Lignode by Stora Enso is said to be a sustainable hard carbon material derived from lignin, a by-product from the manufacturing of pulp. Lignin is made of trees that grow back, making it readily available and providing a stable and consistent raw material supply for anode manufacturing.

“At Altris, we strive to establish a local supply chain and leverage abundant and clean materials to develop sodium-ion batteries. Therefore, it’s exciting to team up with Stora Enso and take part in their establishment of a Europe-based tree-to-anode supply chain,” says Björn Mårlid, CEO of Altris. “We are looking forward to the partnership evolving over the coming years, with the aim to commercialize the world’s most sustainable battery.”

The partnership with Stora Enso is the latest of several announcements regarding Altris’ product development. In 2023, the company presented a commercial-sized sodium-ion battery cell with an energy density of 160 Wh/kg.

We have our eyes set on achieving 200 Wh/kg and beyond.
Björn Mårlid
CEO of Altris

This achievement was made possible by its patented Prussian White cathode material with a capacity of more than 160 mAh/g. According to Altris, this is “the highest capacity declared to date in a Prussian White cathode material made solely from abundant raw materials.”

“Now, we have our eyes set on achieving 200 Wh/kg and beyond, while keeping our chemistry pure and sustainable,” Björn Mårlid, CEO of Altris said in November 2023 when, in October, the company announced a milestone in its technology development.

Altris acted as technology partner for Northvolt, Europe’s battery manufacturing torchbearer, in the development of its first-generation sodium-ion battery cells. 

Northvolt’s cell has been validated for an energy density of more than 160 Wh/kg and is designed primarily for energy storage applications.

“With its first-generation sodium-ion product, Northvolt will bring to market a solution at scale that is competitive with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) solutions. Over time, the technology is expected to surpass LFP significantly in terms of cost-competitiveness,” Wilhelm Löwenhielm, Northvolt senior director of business development ESS, told pv magazine last year as the technology was unveiled.

Back in 2022, Northvolt invested in Altris as part of the company’s Series A funding round.

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  • Marija has years of experience in a news agency environment and writing for print and online publications. She took over as the editor of pv magazine Australia in 2018 and helped establish its online presence over a two-year period.

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