South Korean battery cathode maker EcoPro BM said on Tuesday that it will develop cathode rich with manganese, or Mn-rich.
Volkswagen recently announced in its Battery Day event that it will be developing LFP battery and Mn-rich battery.
EcoPro BM is likely attempting to expand its market share through offering Mn-rich cathode as well as high-nickel cathode to meet diverse customer demands.
EcoPro BM co-CEO Kwon Woo-seok said at its shareholders’ meeting that the company also plans to launch a NCMX cathode, which it says combines the high output of NCA and the longevity of NCM. The company will also develop cathodes for solid-state batteries, the co-CEO said. It will also focus on “next-generation” products like Mn-rich cathode, Kown added.
Currently, in High-nickel cathodes, manganese accounts for 10 to 20% of the total material. For example, NCM622 has 20% of manganese (60% of nickel) and NCM811 10% of manganese (80% of nickel).
Manganese are around 70% cheaper than nickel and are rich in reserves. They are also highly stable. This will makes them an ideal material to reduce risks of battery fire and lower prices of electric vehicle.
Their downside is that they have low energy density. There are limitations in extending the traveling distance of electric vehicles.
By offering both high-nickel and Mn-rich cathodes, EcoPro BM will be able to offer cathodes in a diverse price range.
EcoPro BM also said its battery recycling program will start in May at the earliest. The company is aiming to build a battery recycling cluster at Pohang. It is planning to spend 1.7 trillion won for the cluster. The company’s affiliates will take various roles in the cluster __ EcoPro Innovation will build a high purity lithium factory; EcoPro GEM will build a core material factory for cathodes; EcoPro AP will build a factory for secondary materials used in cathode production; EcoPro BM and EcoPro EM will build the cathode factory; and EcoPro CNG will build the battery recycling factory.
EcoPro BM will also decide where it will build its first foreign cathode factory within the year. It is considering the US and Europe. Its customers Samsung SDI and SK Innovation have battery plants in Hungary.
Last year, EcoPro BM recorded 855.2 billion won in sales and 55.7 billion won in operating income, an increase of 39% and 50%, respectively, from 2019. This year, the firm is aiming for sales exceeding 1 trillion won.