what you need to know about lithium-free batteries in production by 2025 in the Somme

what you need to know about lithium-free batteries in production by 2025 in the Somme
what you need to know about lithium-free batteries in production by 2025 in the Somme

The Amiens start-up Tiamat, designer of sodium-ion batteries, has just signed the agreement to set up its future gigafactory. Work will begin in Boves (Somme) in October and the first production lines will be operational at the end of 2025. Objective: 100 million battery cells produced per year. What technology are we talking about? What are the sodium-ion batteries soon to be manufactured for? Response elements.

This is a big step for the Amiens start-up Tiamat. Surrounded by representatives of the State, the Region, the Amiens-Picardie CCI and Amiens Métropole, the designer of batteries without lithium or cobalt signed on Tuesday, May 7, an implementation agreement for its future production factory .

“We will start work next October and we will launch production with a first line at the end of 2025, beginning of 2026”

Hervé Beuffe, CEO of Tiamat

On a 25 hectare plot of land, located in Boves, at the gates of Amiens (Somme), a gigafactory with a capacity of 5 gigawatt hours. What does this future sodium-ion battery factory consist of? We’ll tell you what you need to know.

What is a sodium-ion battery?

Less known than its counterpart, the sodium battery, it nevertheless shares the same chemical and physical characteristics as the lithium battery. In both cases, operation relies on the constant movement of ions between positive and negative electrodes. “In the majority of cases these are lithium-ion ionsexplains Tiamat CEO, Hervé Beuffe. We use sodium ions to pass from one electrode to another.

The sodium battery is rechargeable, it uses sodium ions (Na+) and therefore avoids the use of lithium, cobalt and nickel, “which are today the materials mainly used by battery producers“, specifies Hervé Beuffe.

More sustainable technology

Unlike lithium, sodium is present in abundance on earth. It is even the sixth most present element, particularly in sea salt. This makes sodium batteries potentially cheaper and more accessible. Unlike lithium tools which often require the extraction of rare metals, the manufacturing of sodium batteries would have a lower environmental impact.

The fact that these batteries are made in France is also a huge advantage.says the CEO of Tiamat, they do not come from Asia so no transport. We aim for as local production as possible.“A goal for Tiamat which, at present, has its raw materials manufactured at”a European chemist” specified in January 2024, the technical director of the company, Mathieu Morcrette.

For what uses?

Car, electric bikes…Can we use sodium-ion batteries in everyday life? This is already, in part, the case. In October 2023, a screwdriver equipped with a sodium-ion battery manufactured by Tiamat was sold in the stores of a DIY brand in France. This is the first generation of sodium-ion batteries produced by the start-up, intended to respond to the market for portable power tools and stationary energy storage.

“They have the particularity of charging very quickly, in less than 10 minutes, which makes them optimal for hybridization operations of thermal engines.”

Hervé Beuffe, CEO of Tiamat

Sodium-ion batteries could be used as a cheaper and simpler alternative for quickly recharging an electric vehicle. On condition of developing a second battery model. “We are working on a generation 2 intended for automobile traction but we are at a lower level of maturity, says Hervé Beuffe, we will release this technology by 2026.

For the moment, these second generation batteries do not make it possible to completely replace lithium-ion equipment because the energy stored by sodium batteries remains lower than the capacities of lithium batteries.

5 gigawatt hours by 2030

On 25 hectares of land, three buildings will be built with the aim of reaching 5 gigawatt hours, i.e. 300,000 battery cells produced per day by 2030. First stage: the construction of a first production line with a capacity of 0.6 gigawatt hours at the beginning of 2026.

Between 1500 and 2000 jobs should eventually be created on this site in Boves (Somme). It seems a winning bet for the local authorities who have invested in the industrial project: 1.3 million euros from Amiens Métropole as well as a first tranche of 8 million euros from the Region. As for the State, it is investing 25 million euros under the France 2030 plan for investment in innovative technologies and the ecological transition.

The future Boves gigafactory thus joins other major industrial projects around the production of batteries located in Hauts-de-France, in Dunkirk, Douai and Douvrin.

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