Leclanché develops Li-ion EV batteries with fewer rare earths

Leclanché develops Li-ion EV batteries with fewer rare earths

The new battery cells have a 20% higher energy density with the same size, weight and performance level, the company says.

Switzerland-based energy storage provider Leclanché says it was able to reduce the cobalt content in its lithium-ion EV battery cells, bringing the cathode material from 20% to 5%. In addition, the electrodes are manufactured using an “environmentally friendly water-based process,” the company says. In doing so, Leclanché says it completely dispenses with the use of the highly toxic organic solvents (NMP) that are otherwise common in the production process. The new G/NMCA cells from Leclanché have a 20% higher energy density with the same size, weight and performance level, the company says. Water binder-based NMCA (nickel-manganese-cobalt-aluminum oxide) cathodes are easier to dispose of and are also recyclable.

High-capacity NMCA cathodes allow for a 20% increase in the energy density of a Li-ion cell compared to conventional G/NMC cells. However, these cathodes are manufactured by most manufacturers using organic solvents such as NMP (N-methylpyrrolidone). These are highly toxic and harmful to the environment. The use of NMP has therefore been restricted by the European Commission.

Leclanché says the newly developed G/NMCA cell has a nickel content of around 90%, which increases the energy density and enables the significant reduction of the cobalt content by 15%. Thanks to the high-volume energy density and high cycle stability, Leclanché says the new cells are particularly well suited for electric cars and heavy-duty applications such as ships, buses and trucks.

The large-format cells come 100% from German production at the Willstätt site in Baden-Württemberg, while Leclanché’s module production takes place on a state-of-the-art automated assembly line at the company’s headquarters in Yverdon, Switzerland.

Leclanché’s new G/NMCA cells are expected to be available on the market in 2024.

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