The cathode determines 35% of the cost of modern traction batteries for electric vehicles. South Korean scientists have proposed a new manganese-nickel cathode material that will double the energy storage density compared to iron-phosphate-based LFP batteries.
Now all the efforts of scientists around the world are aimed at solving two main problems in the manufacture of traction batteries: it is necessary to increase the charge storage density and at the same time reduce the cost of the battery. For the latter, manufacturers are increasingly choosing lithium batteries with iron phosphate. They are typically 20% cheaper than comparable batteries containing cobalt, manganese and nickel. The low charge storage density of LFP batteries is compensated by an increase in the mass of the cathode and the overall battery, so some benefit is lost, although the material cost of LFP batteries is three times lower.
South Korean startup SMLAB explained on the creation of the world’s first material for the cathode of lithium batteries using a single crystal structure based on manganese and nickel. Batteries based on such cathodes can have a charge storage density that is at least twice as high as that of LFP batteries. Experiments to enlarge manganese particles also began in the last decade, but so far they have predominantly had a polycrystalline structure. The authors of the development were able to improve the properties of manganese-based cathodes by creating a special conductive coating that increases the material’s resistance to high temperatures, which inevitably occur during the operation of traction batteries. The developers plan to demonstrate the new generation battery prototypes in the fourth quarter of this year.