The British sodium-ion battery technology company Faradion has been bought up by Reliance New Energy Solar (RNES), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries. Reliance is to acquire 100% shareholding of Faradion for £100 million. In addition, RNES will also invest £25 million as growth capital to accelerate commercial rollout.
While the parent company Reliance Industries is one of India’s largest private sector companies, Faradion is based out of Sheffield and Oxford in the UK.
James Quinn, CEO of Faradion, said: “Faradion has been one of the first to champion sodium-ion battery technology. Reliance is the perfect partner for supporting Faradion’s growth in the rapidly expanding Indian market and to jointly speed up the transformation of the global energy market. Becoming part of the Reliance group validates the incredible work our team has done in advancing sodium-ion technology.”
In 2016, Faradion made electrive news when British companies Faradion and AGM Batteries received a 38.2m pound cash injection from Innovate UK to develop a prototype of a sodium-ion battery for electric cars by 2018 with the goal of commercialising the technology by 2025. In 2017, we reported that the British company was working on a cheap sodium-ion EV battery and was able to raise 3.2m pounds in additional funding. The money was to be used to demonstrate that the technology is suitable for serial production.
Faradion now says that its sodium-ion technology provides significant advantages compared to lithium-ion technology. The company says that this has advantages over lithium-ion batteries with greater sustainability, “a patented zero-volt safe transport and storage capability and immense opportunity for scalability”. According to Faradion, the total cost of ownership is already comparable to lead-acid batteries, and the technology apparently already has a performance on par with lithium-ion phosphate batteries.
Reliance is convinced. The Indian company will use Faradion’s technology at its proposed gigafactory as part of the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex project at Jamnagar in western India.
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries, said that in addition to the above-mentioned advantages, “Most importantly, it utilizes sodium, which will secure India’s energy storage requirements for its large renewable energy and fast-growing EV charging market. We will work with Faradion management and accelerate its plans to commercialise the technology through building integrated and end-to-end giga scale manufacturing in India.”
Also today, we reported that India is initiating a government program to promote the domestic production of battery cells. Of the companies including Hyundai, Ola and Mahindra, Reliance New Energy Solar (RNES) is also among the bidders.
Back in 2019, we reported that initial plans were being made to set up four battery cell factories in India. The government’s announcement attracted interest from Tesla, CATL and BYD at the time, however, none of the companies has submitted a proposal for the current tender. It remains to be seen how much of the gigafactory plans will be achieved.
Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries said of the takeover of Faradion, “We believe this will be one of our many steps that will also enable, accelerate, and secure large scale energy storage requirements for our Indian partners developing and transforming India’s EV mobility and transport sector.”
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