NOVONIX Limited, a leading battery materials and technology company, announced its Battery Technology Solutions division successfully completed the commissioning of its 10 tonnes per annum (TPA) cathode pilot line. The cathode pilot line’s first product, a mid-nickel grade of single-crystal cathode material (“NMC622″), produced using NOVONIX’s patent-pending, all-dry, zero-waste synthesis technology, matches the performance of leading cathode materials from existing suppliers in full-cell testing. NOVONIX will use the pilot line to further demonstrate the manufacturability of the Company’s long-life cathode materials and technology, including high-nickel (e.g., NMC811) and cobalt-free materials, along with their performance in industrial format lithium-ion cells.
Dr. Chris Burns, CEO of NOVONIX, noted, “NOVONIX’s all-dry, zero-waste cathode synthesis demonstrates our efforts to remain at the forefront of product and processing technology for the battery industry. Our Battery Technology Solutions division is actively developing innovative battery materials that enable simplified, improved performance as well as more environmentally sustainable manufacturing processes necessary for the North American battery ecosystem. This capability places us in a unique position to serve the nickel-based cathode material market, which we and industry experts believe will require over 3 million tonnes per annum and represent an over $100B market opportunity by 2030. This complements our anode material business as we look to become a major supplier of anode and cathode materials and technologies outside of Asia.”
NOVONIX increased its investment in its proprietary cathode synthesis technology over the past two years. The patent-pending process – and the innovations resulting from it – are transformational for the battery industry, decreasing processing complexity which should result in a substantial reduction in costs and waste (e.g., elimination of sodium sulfate) in the cathode manufacturing process.
The NMC622 cathode material serves as a platform to expand upon the all-dry process into high-nickel and cobalt-free chemistries, demonstrating the flexibility of the NOVONIX technology across a range of critical cathode materials. The Company previously shared performance data from their all-dry, mid-nickel cathode powder that was built into 1-Ah pouch battery cells, by leveraging their cell prototyping line, and benchmarked against commercial cathode powders of the same chemistry. The data, seen in the figure below, showed that cells containing NOVONIX all-dry, zero-waste cathode powder had similar capacity retention out to 400+ cycles as high-quality, commercial, mid-nickel, single-crystal cathode powders without any ‘finishing’ or surface treatments. Early physical property measurements of mid-nickel cathode powders produced on the 10 tpa pilot line indicate similar, if not superior, expected electrochemical performance from the scaled material.
The positive performance results around NMC622 mark a critical step in enabling the Company to proceed with plans to scale larger test samples and begin commercial discussions with potential partners and customers for its cathode technology.