Below is a summary of some of the differences between the SoNick battery and other battery technologies.
SoNick will not catch fire
The SoNick battery cannot catch fire or explode. It is the only chemistry UL9540A certified for safety from thermal runaway. This means no risk of fire or explosion, even in the presence of external fire.
All lithium-ion batteries have the potential to catch fire. Depending on the particular lithium-ion technology and safety features included with the battery, the ignition point may change, i.e. the ignition point for lithium ion phosphate is higher than that for lithium manganese cobalt.
If a battery installation is situated next to a building and the battery catches fire it is quite possible for the whole building to be burnt as a result of the difficulties associated with extinguishing lithium-ion fires. Also, when lithium batteries catch fire toxic fumes are given off.
SoNick capacity doesn’t degrade over service life
The SoNick battery doesn’t degrade over its service life. After 10 years you should still be operating at your original capacity.
With lithium-ion batteries, depending on the particular technology the degradation can be anything from 20 – 50% over the life of the battery. This means with lithium after 5 years the original 10 kWh of battery storage may only be somewhere between 6 – 8 kWh capacity remaining. This reduction in capacity can happen very quickly once a lithium-ion battery reaches a certain usage.
Generally, with lithium-ion batteries the cheaper technologies are the ones most likely to degrade and have the most risk of catching fire, whereas the safer lithium-ion technologies will be the same price or even more expensive than the sodium nickel chloride batteries.
SoNick are 100% recyclable
The sodium nickel chloride batteries are 100% recyclable with today’s recycling technologies and should not cost anything to recycle as the recovery costs from componentry more than outweighs any costs associated with the recycling process.
With lithium-ion batteries there is currently no readily available recycling options for house scale lithium-ion batteries. Each lithium-ion technology requires different recycling processes as they don’t have consistent componentry across different brands. Also, as recovery costs from componentry are more than costs associated with the recycling process many companies that have considered recycling have already found it an unviable financial process.
Some customers are finding it quite expensive to dispose of lithium-ion batteries that have failed prematurely, both in household batteries and EV batteries. Storage of failed lithium-ion batteries can be dangerous as they can spontaneously ignite and burn down storage buildings.
SoNick batteries have longer expected service life
SoNick batteries have a much longer service life than lithium-ion batteries. FZSoNick are anticipating the SoNick battery to have an expected service life of up to 20 years which is substantially more than expected from any lithium-ion battery. This means the cost of a SoNick battery system over a 10 or 15 year period will actually be much cheaper than lithium-ion system with a cheaper installation cost.
External temperature does not affect the lifetime and performance of the battery module
Every other battery chemistry is negatively affected by external temperature, in both capacity and even ability to charge or discharge. They only deliver the advertised performance within an ideal temperature range. The SoNick batteries will provide exactly the same performance at any temperature between -20 and +60˚C.
No Airconditioning needed
As the SoNick batteries are not affected by temperature they do not need either air-conditioning to keep them cool or heating to keep them warm enough to operate.
A lithium-ion installation needs to be kept within certain temperatures, which will vary on the chemistry, but is usually between 5 and 35 degrees. Lithium-ion batteries need air-conditioning to stop them overheating, which involves a lot more moving parts and regular maintenance and can be noisy. In cold weather many lithium-ion batteries need external heating for them to be able to operate. This can lead to more costs to operate an energy storage system. In extreme circumstances, in the event of an extended outage in heat, lithium-ion batteries may even be required to be shut down to avoid overheating.
SoNick battery BMS’s work independently when connected in parallel
Although the SoNick batteries can be connected in parallel to increase capacity they operate independently of each other, i.e., no battery has an effect on the operation of other batteries connected to it.
With lithium-ion batteries, where multiple batteries are connected to increase capacity, it is not unusual for one battery to become out of sync with other batteries, either charging faster or slower. This can then lead to the inverters stopping charging the battery system believing that the system is fully charged if it reads the one battery that is fully charged. If this occurs the installer has to go to the site (often utilizing a voltage meter on each battery) to work out which battery is no longer working in sync with other batteries. This can mean ongoing maintenance issues with the system.
SoNick batteries can be monitored remotely
This means any possible issues with batteries or installation can be identified remotely thus reducing time for installers visiting installations to check on performance. Many adjustments of batteries can also be made remotely. The battery can be securely enclosed as it requires no access for maintenance.
Although the SoNick battery may have a higher upfront cost per battery, even in large installations, when you consider the lack of degradation, no maintenance, safety of battery (especially considering possible new regulations regarding enclosures), and temperature range meaning no air conditioning required, the cost over the installation’s lifetime is definitely comparable and often cheaper which can reduce OPEX costs considerably.