SVOLT unveiled its new cobalt-free battery cell

SVOLT unveiled its new cobalt-free battery cell
SVOLT cobalt-free battery cell launch event

In an online presentation SVOLT gave us more information about its NMx cobalt-free battery cell that’ll arrive next year.

This long cobalt-free battery cell from SVOLT is specially made to be used in battery packs assembled with the CTP (cell-to-pack) technology.

With the CTP technology instead of having battery cells inside modules, then modules inside battery packs, we remove modules altogether. We end up with long prismatic battery cells connected in series that are put in an array and then inserted into a battery pack, making it as simple as it can be.

 

Let’s see some details about the battery cell.

 

Specs

  • Capacity: 226 Ah
  • Gravimetric energy density: 240 Wh/kg
  • Volumetric energy density: 590 Wh/L
  • Chemistry: LNMO (high voltage spinel form of LNMO)
  • Dimensions: 575 x 21,5 x 118 mm

 

This high-voltage battery cell has a nominal voltage around 4,7 V and can be charged at 5 V, which makes possible to assemble simpler battery packs with fewer cells. Only 80 cells in series are needed to reach 400 V, or 160 cells in series to reach 800 V.

 

Discharge profiles of different cathodes by BASF

 

Regarding cost and energy density, LNMO battery cells offer a good balance when compared to alternative technologies.

 

NCM 811

  • Gravimetric energy density: 270-300 Wh/kg
  • Volumetric energy density: 620-700 Wh/L
  • Cost per kWh: 90-80 euros

 

LNMO (high voltage spinel form)

  • Gravimetric energy density: 240 Wh/kg
  • Volumetric energy density: 590 Wh/L
  • Cost per kWh: 80-70 euros

 

LFMP (high voltage version of LFP)

  • Gravimetric energy density: 200 Wh/kg
  • Volumetric energy density: 410-420 Wh/L
  • Cost per kWh: 70-60 euros

 

Battery cell cost of different chemistries

 

 

What about longevity?

In the early days, some electric cars used manganese-rich battery cells that were extremely safe but weren’t very robust. At higher temperatures the manganese in the cathode tended to be corroded by the liquid electrolyte, which gradually reduced the ability to store lithium ions. We all remember the mess of the first generation battery packs in the Nissan LEAF made with LMO cells and without a proper TMS…

Fortunately this corrosion problem with manganese-rich battery cells was later solved by modifying the electrolyte and the coating of the cathode’s surface. This was the “secret” behind the more robust 2015 Nissan LEAF’s lizard battery or the GS Yuasa LEV50N cells used by Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

Modern manganese-rich battery cells are not only extremely safe, but also durable.

However, the arrival of more energy-dense NCM battery cells made us forget manganese-rich batteries, until now…

 

Manganese-rich batteries are coming back

SVOLT says that its new LNMO battery can deliver a 800 km range and lasts for 15 years and 1.200.000 km, which represents 1.500 cycles before reaching the EoL (End-of-Life). Some researchers consider that the EoL is reached when a battery only retains 70 % of the initial capacity, while others consider 80 %.

Given that these figures are likely in the fairy tale NEDC standard, we get should get around 600 km of range and 900.000 km of service life with the more realistic WLTP.

Moreover, if we assume that the EoL happens at 70 %, it means that after 900.000 km the battery will still be able to deliver a WLTP range of 420 km.

 

Regarding cathode development of LIB (Lithium-ion batteries) we are currently at phase 2 with nickel-rich NCM 811 and upcoming NCMA battery cells, where costs are reduced by replacing as much cobalt as possible with nickel.

HE-NCM and HV-Spinel battery cells represent phase 3, when more and more nickel is replaced with manganese.

 

To understand why phase 3 is important, let’s see the average market price of these raw materials per ton.

  • Cobalt: 27.000 EUR/t
  • Nickel: 11.000 EUR/t
  • Manganese: 2.000 EUR/t

 

NCM Product Overview by BASF in November 4, 2014

 

Anyway, it’s great to soon have at least two compelling cobalt-free battery technologies available. It’ll be interesting to see which one will be favored by the Korean battery cell makers. Will it be LFMP or LNMO?

 

Finally, you can see the full video presentation of SVOLT’s cobalt-free battery and try to catch some details that I may have missed. The video has some interesting information but the content could be condensed in a 5 minutes video instead of 84.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Amnu5FBL58g

 

 

More info:

https://en.svolt.cn/

https://blog.topsoe.com/the-cathode-material-for-next-generation-lithium-ion-batteries-is-ready

https://info.topsoe.com/batteries

https://www.mtixtl.com/EQ-Lib-LNMO.aspx

https://sci-hub.tw/https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378775315303256

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2468025720300200

https://sci-hub.tw/https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsami.6b02491

https://sci-hub.tw/https://www.researchgate.net/publication/272272173_Insight_into_the_Structural_Evolution_of_a_High-Voltage_Spinel_for_Lithium-Ion_Batteries

Pedro Lima

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Leave a Reply

Chris hansen

Charging voltage of 5V is amazing news for mobile gadgets. Usb-direct without transforming.

Good point, didn’t think of that.

Booms

That sounds interesting. Could you explain a bit more about that?

buu

He can’t, because he doesn’t understand it, otherwise he wouldn’t wrote that nonsense

The charge voltage limit of current smartphones’ batteries is 4,2-4,3 V, but USB delivers 5 V, which means that the internal charging controller (buck converter) has to step down the voltage to keep the charging process safe.

However, with this new high voltage chemistry the charge voltage limit is 5 V, which means that it doesn’t need the buck converter active when charged by USB, making the charging process more efficient and safer (less heat generated).

Pajda

Pedro this is utopia 🙂 You will never unify battery cells to use common 5V top charging voltage. The second problem is that USB “5V” is nominal value with huge tolerance (4.4-5.25V). So you still always need at least a voltage stabilizer. Also USB “5V” standard is limited to 2A. Majority of modern devices with USB fast charging (>10W) are using higher voltages like 9V or more (up to 20V) under QC(quick-charge) or PD(power delivery) or another standard.

Yes Pajda, the buck converter will still have to be there, but with 5 V battery cells in some cases it doesn’t have to be active, or at least it’ll be active for less time during charging.

Earl Colby Pottinger

When can we get samples?

SVOLT belongs to Great Wall Motor, we will see this cobalt-free battery cell in their electric cars first.

Barry

Pedro,
Great content, as always. I have a few questions:
If the BASF HV-Spinel LNMO data is from 2014, why are we only seeing commercial cells now (or in 2021, I guess)?
I saw Dahn’s name on one of the papers you referenced. Is it possible the new Tesla cells are LNMO and not LFP?
What are the disadvantages of the new electrolyte required for high cell voltages?
Do LNMO cells require special thermal considerations?
Why are Panasonic, LG Chem and SDI not jumping on this chemistry, considering it has been around for a while?

Thanks!

Hi Barry. “So why are LNMO-based batteries not setting new standards for battery performance right now? One of the stumbling blocks is the lack of an electrolyte that can handle the stresses of an LNMO-based battery. Nobody has truly realized the benefits of LNMO cathodes yet because the high voltage it operates at degrades today’s electrolytes and renders the battery useless over time. However, electrolyte manufacturers are getting very promising results from ongoing research & development that will, at some point, result in electrolytes that will function well in a LNMO battery cell. And when that happens, we are ready… Read more »

devilfriend

When they say their new battery “can deliver a 800km of range”, what’s the battery size they’re using for reference?

They didn’t mention it in the video. A 120 kWh battery would probably be enough, considering that the range is in NEDC.

Pajda

SVOLT seems to have already in production 156Ah cell (i think i read somewhere that it is NMC-811 with Gr./Si anode) which is suited to the VW MEB platform modules. They already offers its own cells based MEB modules. This particular cell is attacking the LG chem LGX E78 pouch cell energy density but with doube capacity, so only 12s1p connection is needed. By the way it is great to see the latest results of the huge lithium battery research activity around the world particularly in China. These are the results that the EU warned against several years ago. In… Read more »

Benjamin

These SVOLT cells aren’t NCMA chemistry ? How did you deduce HV ?

NCMA isn’t cobalt-free, SVOLT mentions LNMO in the video.

https://youtu.be/Amnu5FBL58g?t=2152

Marcel

Another very informative article, thanks Pedro.

If I’m calculating correctly, a 226Ah cell at 4.7V means it’s ~1kwh per cell, so an 80 cell pack, to achieve 400V would be roughly 1.2m x 1m x 0.15m – which seems fairly compact to me. It does seem fairly thick though, so it might take away some foot/leg space for rear passengers in a standard skateboard configuration. For larger vehicles though, this could easily enable 100+kwh packs.

My guess is that any EVs with these cells will need a good TMS that achieves uniform cooling throughout the cells.

Very exciting news indeed.

Maximilian Holland

Thanks for this Pedro. The SVolt presentation made good points around need to minimize cobalt, which industry insiders are already well aware of. However, high grade Nickel also needs to ramp up mineral supply volume in the coming 5 years, and sometimes sees disruptive price spikes. Arguably only LFP is truly free from these kinds of mineral supply constraints, but the overall industry will benefit from having wide variety of chemistries / pathways, and some degree of substitutability between minerals, so that no one mineral can become a bottleneck/pain point. I empathize with SVolt – seeing Tesla, CATL, and BYD… Read more »

Thanks Max, you always have interesting insights.

Here’s a simple overview of different cathodes.
comment image

Maximilian Holland

Great – thank you Pedro!
(look out for an email I sent you via the contact address recently).