The trend in battery cathode materials is shifting from three materials to four.
Batteries made from four materials are expected to be used more by electric vehicles (EV) made by Tesla, General Motors, Volkswagen and Renault going forward.
EcoPro BM, Posco Chemical, Cosmo AM&T and L&F are expected to begin the supply of materials in full-scale.
Previous mainstay cathode materials used nickel, cobalt and manganese, or nickel cobalt and aluminum, or lithium cobalt oxides.
Four material cathodes usually add aluminum with nickel account for over 80% of the materials used.
This increase energy density while minimizing cobalt use. This leads to increased travel distance per charge.
Hanyang University professor Sun Yang-kook said four material cathodes like NCMA has secured high capacity, high stability and longer life. The material was superior to NCA and NCM9½½, Sun’s research showed.
EcoPro BM was ahead in producing four material cathodes. The company recently wrapped up what it dubbed NCMX.
This new cathode will be supplied to customers within the year at the earliest. It uses a single crystal structure. EcoPro used 3D coating and optimized process to extend the cathode’s life and performance.
Posco Chemical meanwhile is planning to produce NCMA at its second factory at Gwangyang.
LG Chem plans to begin NCMA production in 2022.The cathode will be used in General Motor’s Ultium EV platform.
Tesla last month said it plans to use NCMA for its batteries. Renault will use LG Chem’s batteries with NCMA applied.