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How CellBlock Stays On Top as Battery Chemistries Change

New battery technologies, specifically sodium-ion and solid state batteries, are emerging as competitors to the dominant lithium-ion battery chemistry. Naturally, there are pros and cons of each, and expert opinions vary on how quickly these newer technologies will gain traction in the marketplace. But CellBlock is already ahead of the curve in terms of the fire containment industry. We asked our CTO, Dylan Vandemark, for his thoughts on whether the new technologies pose a threat to the industry's business model. His answers:

Great question. We assess this risk from several points.

1. Feasibility: These “safer” chemistries are not yet mass producible, and may never reach a cost model or energy density (that is the literal energy-to-mass ratio) to replace all battery chemistries' use cases across the electrification spectrum.

2. Misconception: LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) chemistry cells were thought to be the solution to safer batteries, even at a lower average energy density than more rich chemistries, like NMC (Nickel, Manganese and Cobalt). Today LFP is broadly used as it’s harder to ignite, but it produces 3x the flammable gas as other chemistries. The misconception is that sodium ion or solid state will be like LFP, where in reality the risk profile is just different, not nonexistent. 

3. Regulatory implications: All the continually released codes, standards, and requirements for compliance associated with the batteries of today will still be the burden of future batteries. Under the law, a battery is a battery and chemistry does not affect that. This means the requirements for our products that are regulatory in nature will also not need that differentiation.

4. Life cycle of chemistries: The cells and batteries put into the market over the next 10-20 years that are the chemistries we built our brand on will still be present. They won’t just disappear. Every cell and battery put into the market up to that point at YOY increase will need a life, and just as important, an end of life management solution. This means we will be living with and recycling NMC, LCO, NCA, and LFP for decades. The recycling industry is dealing with nickel cadmium in the same way, and we are not nearly as married to it as we are to modern battery technology.

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