Heading to zero cobalt batteries: Page 2 of 4

October 29, 2020 //By Nick Flaherty
Heading to zero cobalt batteries
IDTechEx forecasts the share of "high-nickel" NMC batteries with over 60 percent nickel will increase significantly over the next decade, putting the electrification of vehicles at risk.
nickel content above 80 percent. Reducing cobalt and increasing the nickel content of layered oxides will likely be the go-to solution for increasing capacity and reducing cobalt reliance even if they're never quite zero-cobalt.

NMA

There are promising results for a zero cobalt layered oxide cathode. While there was a decrease to capacity (and therefore energy density) the stability of the material over cycling, both at 25 °C and 45 °C was surprisingly high. Higher temperatures can be reached in demanding applications such as EVs and stability of their NMA material will need to be demonstrated given the generally higher rate of manganese dissolution, especially at higher temperatures. A potential long-term solution for excluding cobalt but limited capacity improvement limits performance benefit over current state-of-the-art.

LFP

A widely commercialized technology that can demonstrate long cycle life, improved safety and can be designed for high rate capability. In addition, it is a relatively low-cost material on a $/kg basis. As a result of these factors, it is well suited for applications such as electric buses, two-wheelers, certain stationary applications and has received renewed interest for electric cars as well. However, it is an intrinsically lower energy density cathode and while there are ways to improve energy density at both the cell and pack level, LFP batteries are unlikely to be sufficient for long-range electric cars.

LMP/LMFP

Lithium-manganese-phosphate (LMP) shares the same crystal structure as LFP but operates at a more positive voltage, overcoming one of the key disadvantages of LFP. However, cycle life tends to be low, due to the high manganese content, while poor electronic and ionic conductivity mean that reasonable capacities are generally only measured at low charge/discharge rates, making them unsuitable for EVs. The addition of Fe to form LMFP can improve conductivity and cycle life but lowers the average voltage. Ultimately, LMFP may bridge the gap between LFP and NMC/NCA but the reversible capacities of LMP and LMFP


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