Musk: "I think manganese-based batteries have potential"

BoShi News 2022-07-27 18:24:19

Recently, Dangsheng Technology announced that the research and development of lithium iron manganese phosphate materials has been completed and is currently in the stage of customer certification; BASF Shanshan announced that manganese-rich battery materials have achieved ton-level large-scale production... In recent years, including lithium iron manganese phosphate, lithium-rich manganese Base and other manganese-based batteries have attracted much attention, and related companies have accelerated their deployment. What is the prospect of manganese-based material batteries?

Significant cost performance advantage

Lithium iron phosphate batteries and ternary lithium batteries are the mainstream power batteries currently used in electric vehicles.

In March of this year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said, "I think manganese-based batteries have potential." He further stated that "under very large (battery) demand, we need tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of tons of raw materials. Therefore, The materials used for mass production of batteries must be ordinary materials, otherwise it cannot be scaled." On Tesla Battery Day in 2020, Musk also said that it is made of 2/3 nickel and 1/3 manganese. The cathode material is relatively simple, which makes it possible to increase the battery capacity by more than 50% with the same amount of nickel.

At present, the mainstream manganese-based batteries include lithium manganate, lithium iron manganese phosphate, and lithium-rich manganese-based batteries. Industry insiders believe that among manganese-based materials, lithium iron manganese phosphate, as one of the most important improvement directions for lithium iron phosphate, is expected to take the lead in industrial application. It is understood that lithium iron manganese phosphate is a solid solution of lithium iron phosphate and lithium manganese phosphate, which retains the excellent safety and stability of lithium iron phosphate, and has a higher voltage platform and the same theoretical gram capacity as lithium iron phosphate. Therefore, Under the same conditions, its theoretical energy density is about 20% higher than that of lithium iron phosphate batteries. At present, battery manufacturers with lithium iron manganese phosphate technical reserves include CATL, BYD, Guoxuan Hi-Tech, etc., mainly focusing on patent technology research and development and investment layout. Cathode manufacturers such as German Nano, Zhongbei New Materials, and Tianjin Strand have all made arrangements for manganese-iron-lithium products. Defang Nano said that the company's new lithium iron manganese phosphate has begun to send samples, and it is expected to be industrialized in 1-2 years. With the addition of positive lithium supplementation technology, the energy density of the battery can be increased by 20%, and the cycle life can reach 10,000 times.

Xia Yonggao, a researcher at the Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, pointed out that the current energy density of lithium iron phosphate batteries is close to the limit, and the cost of ternary lithium batteries is soaring due to the recent price fluctuations of nickel and cobalt. At the same time, compared with nickel and cobalt, manganese reserves are relatively sufficient. In this context, the advantages of manganese-based batteries are further highlighted.

According to Mo Ke, chief analyst of True Lithium Research, the development of any battery route is inseparable from the two main lines of energy density and cost. "The energy density of lithium iron manganese phosphate is higher than that of lithium iron phosphate, but the cost is similar. The energy density of lithium-rich manganese-based materials and layered lithium manganate is also better than that of ternary materials. At a time when the cost of raw materials continues to rise, it is necessary to develop these The heat of a cathode material will naturally increase.”

Remaining technical difficulties

It is understood that BYD tried to research manganese-based batteries many years ago and applied for related patents, but there was no further progress in the follow-up. At present, BYD mainly focuses on blade batteries.

In fact, manganese-based batteries with many advantages have their own pain points. "The addition of manganese can improve the energy density of the original lithium iron phosphate battery, but at the same time, after the addition of manganese, the lithium ion diffusion speed and electronic conductivity of the material will be reduced. Therefore, in order to achieve higher lithium iron phosphate The discharge specific capacity needs to reduce the primary particle size of the material, but small nanoparticles also bring a series of side effects, such as reduced compaction, high water absorption, and poor high-temperature cycle performance and flatulence problems caused by it." Xia Yonggao said.

"The difficulty in the development of lithium manganese iron phosphate technology is to solve the problem of double voltage platforms, and the difficulty in the development of lithium-rich manganese-based and layered lithium manganate technology is the problem of prolonging the cycle life. At present, the above technologies have not yet reached the level of practical stage. ." Mercury admitted.

Gaogong Lithium believes that in the next 2-3 years, lithium iron manganese phosphate will be more applied in the form of compound ternary materials. In the long run, as its cost decreases and its cycle performance improves, the upgrade process from auxiliary materials to main materials will be accelerated. "Lithium manganese iron phosphate alone has some problems at this stage. It is more suitable as an auxiliary material for ternary lithium batteries, which can not only take into account the energy density, but also improve the safety performance of ternary batteries." Xia Yonggao said.

Drive the demand for manganese

The tight supply of raw materials has caused the price of batteries to skyrocket before, and the price has remained at a high level recently. At present, many car companies are looking for more cost-effective batteries, and new materials and new technologies are emerging one after another. Ouyang Minggao, a professor at Tsinghua University and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said recently that more innovations in material systems are likely to occur in power batteries in the future. From the current point of view, the performance of sodium ion low-temperature charging and fast charging is very outstanding. Manganese-based solid-state batteries such as lithium manganate and lithium iron manganate have excellent economic performance and low temperature performance. Both of them have entered a new generation of power by virtue of their respective advantages. One of the battery technology research and development layout.

CICC's research report pointed out that starting from 2022, 4680 batteries, CTB, lithium iron manganese phosphate batteries, semi-solid batteries, sodium batteries, and lithium battery recycling are expected to gradually move towards industrialization. "The more the price of raw materials rises, the more popular battery routes with higher comprehensive cost-effectiveness will be. For example, various technical routes such as lithium manganese iron phosphate will have the opportunity to participate in competition in the future." Cao Guangping, an independent researcher of new energy and intelligent connected vehicles express.

It is understood that lithium manganate batteries have now achieved mass production, and there is a large market space in the two-wheeler market. Lithium manganese iron phosphate batteries and lithium-rich manganese-based batteries are still in the process of mass production.

The industry is more concerned about what kind of manganese-based batteries can be installed first. In this regard, Xia Yonggao is optimistic about the prospects of ternary/lithium manganese iron phosphate composite batteries. In view of the current technical problems faced by the development of lithium iron manganese phosphate batteries, he believes that for different application scenarios, it is very important to comprehensively balance the ratio of manganese to iron, electrochemical properties and physical properties, and should not blindly pursue higher manganese content.

With the development of manganese-based batteries in the future, the demand for manganese on the battery side will also rise. The research report of CITIC Securities pointed out that benefiting from the rapid growth in shipments of ternary cathode materials and lithium manganate materials, it is expected that the amount of manganese used in lithium battery cathode materials will exceed 300,000 tons in 2025, with a compound growth rate of 32% from 2021 to 2025. . With the increase in the penetration rate of new manganese-based cathode materials, it is expected that the amount of manganese used in lithium batteries will surge, and it is expected to increase to more than 1.3 million tons by 2035, which is equivalent to more than 10 times that in 2021. In 2035, the amount of manganese used in the lithium battery field is expected to account for 5% of the overall demand for manganese.

Produced | China Energy News (ID: cnenergy)

Trainee Editor | Li Zemin

Editor in charge丨Yan Zhiqiang

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