Published on 14/12/2020

ARMOR & NATRON partnering for next-generation battery

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In 2020, the Silicon Valley based start-up Natron completed a D-Funding totaling $35m. At the same time, Natron and ARMOR celebrate the 5th anniversary of their partnership to produce the very first sodium-ion battery. These batteries are notably dedicated to the strategic market of data centers. The sixth most abundant element on Earth, sodium is both limitless and sustainable. By developing a technology based on an abundant resource and foregoing metal oxides, Natron, supported by ARMOR, is meeting the pressing challenges of sustainable development.

A sustainable alternative for data centers
Lithium-ion batteries have been successfully used over the past three decades in applications such as smartphones and electric vehicles. Yet the use of lithium-ion batteries is not necessarily the most appropriate option for all potential applications as they prioritize energy density. This provides vehicles with greater range, although to the detriment of the battery’s longevity and stability.

In September 2020, the respected media outlet Bloomberg presented the Natron sodium-ion batteries as a leading alternative to lithium-ion batteries[1]. These new batteries offer more options in the area of stationary storage, especially for back-up power systems at data centers that activate in the event of an outage. This is the strategic market being targeted by Natron with its sodium-ion battery. Among the main contributors to the Natron fundraising are the Swedish giant ABB, a major operator in data storage infrastructure. At the heart of Natron's techynology: Prussian blue. Developed by a colorist from Berlin in the early 18th century, it is mainly used as a pigment. It is also particularly suitable for storing sodium ions, providing batteries with high power and a longer useful life.

Enhanced performance and safety
The Natron solution is compatible with the industrial processes currently used to produce lithium-ion batteries and therefore requires no modification of infrastructure. These sodium-ion batteries provide unrivalled performance in terms of safety, by eliminating the fire risk. The technology enables data center operators to develop a safe and built-in solution adapted to existing structures, no longer needing to be housed in a separate building. It promises an overall saving in terms of integration costs.
A partnership based on trust, leading to a sustainable product
ARMOR contributes to the project with their
En’ Safe® current collectors which increase the safety, performance and lifespan of batteries. These current collectors have a coating preventing corrosion and enhancing adhesion, while reducing internal electrical resistance. Going much further than a simple supplier/customer relationship, the collaboration represents a partnership leading to a sustainable end product through the combination of advice, support and trust. « Aside from the benefits and performance enhancement En’ Safe® offers, ARMOR has also provided strong support and connections within Natron’s supply chain. This provides opportunity for Natron’s expansion in both the US and EU providing confidence of a successful transaction », comments Brandon Zembrodt, ACES Sales Manager - North America.
[1] Bloomberg Businessweek, September 22nd  2020 : https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-09-22/sodium-ion-batteries-emerge-as-cheaper-alternative-to-lithium?utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_medium=social&utm_content=business&cmpid=socialflow-facebook-business&fbclid=IwAR34UvKKlpBuLK6g46p6lCmd_cHWnpo6l67Uo_IJE-kzuLJIPVxK3zzhJzI