Chinese battery materials producer GEM is expanding its production and supply of precursors for anode materials.
The company said in its investors relation conference on Thursday that its shipment for precursors with less than 5% cobalt (Ni92) exceeded 10,000 metric tonnes last year.
GEM has also begun production of precursors for NCA(nickel, cobalt, aluminum) 98, which has over 98% nickel, as well as NCMA (nickel, cobalt manganese and aluminum). The company was also in preparation to produce Ni98 precursor, which has less than 1% cobalt, it added.
Ni92 precursor is a core material that SK Innovation has previously said it would use for its next-generation anode material NCM9½½(nickel, cobalt and manganese in 9 to 0.5 to 0.5 ratio).
EcoPro BM is currently handling SK Innovation’s anode material supply for electric vehicle (EV) batteries. GEM is, in turn, supplying the precursors needed for the materials to EcoPro BM.
GEM and EcoPro BM’s holding company, EcoPro, runs a joint venture. GEM and EcoPro BM operates a joint venture in South Korea called EcoPro GEM that produces precursors. EcoPro formed another joint venture with GEM’s subsidiary, Fuan GEM, at Fuan, China that also produces precursors in April this year.
Meanwhile, GEM’s precursors for NCMA will likely be used by LG Chem and other companies. EcoPro BM has already completed the development of NCMA. It applied a single crystal structure. It applied process optimization and 3D coating to extend its life and increase its performances. LG Chem is planning to use the anode materials at Ultium Materials, its joint venture with General Motors.
GEM is expanding the production of precursors for high-nickel anode materials due to the rising demand from battery makers to increase travel distances of EV per charge.
Anode materials account for 40% of EV batteries cost. Precursors for the materials are used to mix cobalt sulfate and lithium hydroxide at a 1 to 1 ratio.