LG Chem, the parent company of South Korean battery maker LG Energy Solution, is aiming to launch a single crystal cathode within the year.
LG Chem cathode development team leader Jeong Myung-gi said this cathode will be based on a mixture of nickel, cobalt, manganese, and aluminum.
Making these various metals into one crystal increases the durability of the cathode.
This can reduce gas emissions and more efficient space within batteries.
Jeong said the company believes a single crystal form was essential to ensure electric vehicle batteries were safe.
Cathode used in commercialized EV batteries is multi-crystal. As the batteries go through repeated cycles of charging, the space between these metals widens. This causes a battery’s life to be shortened and more prone to fires.
A single crystal cathode doesn’t have this problem but its active voltage is higher which can cause a battery’s temperature to go up.
The single crystal can also be damaged during roll pressing in battery production.
LG Chem’s Jeong said the company believes the size of the crystal should be between 5 to 10 micrometers to withstand the pressure and achieve high energy density.
Meanwhile, LG Chem is also developing a mid-nickel cathode where the amount of nickel and cobalt are both reduced.
This reduces the cost more while the chances of fire also drop from the low nickel usage.