Battery material maker EcoPro BM is aiming to produce a cathode comprised of nickel, cobalt, manganese and additive (NCMX) within the year, TheElec has learned.
EcoPro BM will be producing between 500 to 1,000 metric tonnes of the cathode within the year or early next year at the latest, sources said.
The company will likely finalize the plan during the second half of the year as it's still readjusting its production lines following the explosion at its plant in Ochang in January.
EcoPro BM is aiming to supply the material to the US factory run by SK On, the battery-making subsidiary of South Korean energy firm SK Innovation.
The cathode will likely be used by SK On for new batteries that the company plans to supply to Ford for the F-150 electric truck.
The NCMX cathode will also be comprised of over 90% nickel. EcoPro BM will likely add aluminum and other material as additives to increase the performance of the cathode.
Prices of battery materials such as nickel, cobalt, manganese and lithium have risen in recent years.
Due to this trend, battery cell makers are attempting to cut the unit prices of their suppliers to control costs.
Cathode makers are responding by launching high-value cathodes such as those with high nickel to increase their profitability.
Having high amounts of nickel in the cathode increases the energy density and battery cell makers can use less of the material.
For example, NCM523 battery, which has nickel, cobalt and manganese in 5 to 2 to 3 ratio, will need 1kg of cathode but a NCM811 battery use between 700g to 800g.