November 15, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. – Khon Kaen University and Department of Primary Industries and Mines, Ministry of Industry (DPIM) held a press release of the Project to develop manufacturing technology of sodium-ion batteries from rock salt that is under the potential industry development. Joining in the meeting with the press were Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University; Dr. Teerawut Tannukit, the representative of the Director General of the Department of Primary Industries and Mines, Ministry of Industry; and Assoc. Prof. Nonglak Meethong, Ph.D., the Project research team leader. Among attendants were KKU administrators, lecturers, researchers, representatives from various work places and news correspondents. The press meeting was held at Sarasin Room, 2nd Floor, Sirikunakorn Building, Khon Kaen University.
Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University said that in meetings all over the world at present are talking about clean energy or alternative energy. The Sodium-ion Battery Manufacturing Technology Project has developed the making of batteries from rock salt and is aiming at answering the potential industry development of the country. It is the success of Khon Kaen University from hard work of the research team that answers the University’s policy to become a world-class research university. The research team is led by Assoc. Prof. Nonglak Meethong, Ph.D. The team became successful and it is the first time in ASEAN to make the batteries of this kind. The batteries can collect energy from sunlight or wind turbine and change it to electricity and store in the form of batteries, which can be used in our everyday life. In the future, the batteries will be cheaper and are promising to lower people’s expenditure.
“The Sodium-ion Battery Manufacturing Technology Project from rock salt will answer the potential industry development and an important mechanism to enhance research and development of technology for producing raw materials that are of high qualities. The development will lead to the new future of battery industry,” said KKU President.
Dr. Teerawut Tannukit, the representative of the Director General of the Department of Primary Industries and Mines, Ministry of Industry, explained that from the survey of DPIM, Thailand has the resource of potash or the sodium ore group that is generally found together. The ore is in greatest quantity in the Northeast. The reserve of rock salt in Thailand accounts for 18 billion tons, an enormous amount of reserve. The ore is a precursor for manufacturing of sodium-ion batteries from rock salt. The development by KKU research team will help reducing importing raw materials from abroad, and at the same time the ore resource is abundant in Thailand.
“This project is the first success in ASEAN. The Ministry of Industry has been assigned by the Government to promote and deploy the technology. The next target of the country is to build a full-cycle battery industry, and use rock salt as the precursor in the manufacturing. The batteries can be used in small electric vehicles and used as power for smart farms in the agricultural industry. The goal of the Ministry is to empower Thai industry with competitive competency. One key target is the battery industry in the future,” said DPIM representative.
Assoc. Prof. Nonglak Meethong, Ph.D., a researcher of the Project to develop manufacturing technology of sodium-ion batteries from rock salt revealed that the research team has devoted to their fullest capacity in the work until it became successful. The batteries are produced from the rock salt mines in Thailand, and can become an alternative battery type that replaces lithium-ion batteries with close efficiency but 30-40% lower costs in the same scale. Sodium-ion batteries will be better for certain applications than their counterpart and are safer to use.
“The Project team, however, will go on extending the technology of manufacturing of the alternative batteries at the cellular level in battery factories until the prototype emerges. The prototype will be tested in new vehicles and power storage systems such as batteries for E-Bikes, reserve batteries for solar cells, and lightings. We have the model for the use of batteries from sodium in E-Bikes that save energy and truly usable. In the future, there is the tendency for research team to develop the technology in manufacturing this type of batteries to be equal to lithium-ion batteries. And then we will have the highly potential alternative energy of low cost.”
News / Photos: Jiraporn Prathomchai