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Denmark: Battery Materials Haldor Topsoe Develops Next-Generation LNMO Cathode Material

| Editor: Alexander Stark

High voltage Lithium-Nickel-Manganese Oxide (LNMO) cathode material provide a longer range and more powerful electric devices with next-generation batteries. Haldor Topsoe has invested in developing a world-class LNMO cathode material, and believes that LNMO has great potential as a cathode material in novel lithium ion batteries.

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Haldor Topsoe has invested significantly in developing a world-class LNMO cathode material.
Haldor Topsoe has invested significantly in developing a world-class LNMO cathode material.
(Source: Haldor Topsoe )

Lyngby/Denmark — One of the obstacles for LNMO-based batteries is the lack of an electrolyte that can handle the stresses of these batteries. The high voltage it operates at degrades today’s electrolytes and renders the battery useless over time.

However, electrolyte manufacturers are getting promising results from ongoing research & development, says Haldor Topsoe. At some point, these could result in electrolytes that would function well in a LNMO battery cell. LNMO is a high-energy and high-power cathode material for use alongside next-generation high-nickel NCA and NMC materials. In addition to the advantages of being cost-effective, cobalt-free and low in nickel, LNMO provides unique performance characteristics due to its three-dimensional spinel structure and electro-chemistry.

LNMO cathode based battery cells deliver results on par with other high-performance lithium based batteries, but at a considerably lower cost.
LNMO cathode based battery cells deliver results on par with other high-performance lithium based batteries, but at a considerably lower cost.
(Source: Haldor Topsoe )

High Discharge Rates

The three-dimensional structure of the LNMO spinel improves the flow of lithium ions in the cathode. This is a key enabler for high battery discharge rates, where ions flow from the anode to the cathode, and also enables fast charging, where ions flow in the opposite direction. This means there is more energy available in a LNMO battery when discharging at high rates, because the LNMO cathode accepts ions more efficiently.

The unique ability of LNMO to maintain a high capacity at high discharge rates is particularly beneficial for applications where there is only limited space available and/or limitations on weight — as in Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs).

High Voltage

The LNMO cathode provides one of the highest potentials available for current lithium-ion battery cathode materials, resulting in a battery cell with a nominal voltage of 4.7 V compared with 3.7 V for other cathode types — an increase of roughly 25 %.

This unique characteristic makes it possible to simplify the battery package in which battery cells are connected in series to reach a given voltage. Returning to the PHEV example, you would need 25 % fewer cells to reach the same voltage.

In other applications, the high operating voltage can be transferred directly into increased productivity. The power that a battery in an electric power tool – for example – is able to deliver results from the operating voltage multiplied by the electric current, also expressed as Watt = Volt x Ampere. Using a 4.7 V LNMO battery instead of a 3.7 V battery for such a power tool results in 25 % more power when working at the same current.

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