sonnen pushes cobalt-free lithium ion batteries

sonnen, Shell
Natural Solar CEO and founder Chris Williams with a Sonnen home battery system

sonnen has launched an industry-wide manufacturer initiative to push the use of cobalt-free lithium ion batteries for home storage systems to increase awareness for more sustainable materials and longer-lasting batteries. To start with, sonnen will be introducing a trust mark, which will make it clear to customers and installers that its batteries are cobalt-free.

“Our customers are not only taking a sustainable approach when it comes to their energy, but also in the manufacturing inputs of products. As a global leader, we want to send out a clear signal for less cobalt and that greater sustainability is needed. We would like to encourage other manufacturers to adapt their technology for the benefit of the environment and communities,” CEO of sonnen Christoph Ostermann said.

He added, “Of course, replacing cobalt is no easy task, but where we are able to, we should. This includes batteries in home storage systems, where cobalt-containing materials are proven to be neither technically or environmentally necessary.”

Since the company’s founding in 2010, sonnen has exclusively used lithium iron phosphate batteries in its storage systems. Along with the fact that they do not contain any cobalt, sonnen says independent studies have shown that these types of batteries offer greater cycle stability and improved safety.

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Greater cycle stability results in batteries having a longer life span and this enhances the sustainability of any batteries in the long-term with an extended product life cycle. Having a battery with a longer product life cycle opens new possibilities such as grid stabilisation with virtual power plants which require long-lasting batteries.

The manufacturer-neutral trust mark is freely available for any companies who use, or would like to use, cobalt-free lithium ion batteries. sonnen operates a battery laboratory where various technologies are tested for its home storage systems. The company will collaborate and share its know-how on lithium iron phosphate technology and other battery technologies with other manufacturers.

There is an increasing push towards the adoption of cobalt-free battery technologies. On April 1, 2019, the Bavarian state capital, Munich, published a storage system support program, which for the first time explicitly excluded lithium nickel manganese cobalt batteries (NMC) from its promotion.

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