Nano One [TSXV:NNO / FRA:LBMB], the Canadian battery materials technology specialist, has launched what it is calling a metal to cathode active material (M2CAM ) initiative, making it possible to use pure base metals in the production of cathodes for lithium-ion car batteries rather than metal sulphates or other salts.
Global car makers are on a mission to meet the all-electric car production targets which range from 2030 (in the UK) and 2050 (in the US) but that process now hinges on certain key components like car batteries. Most EV makers like Tesla and Volkswagen use lithium ion batteries. This is where Nano One comes in as it produces high performance cathode powders used in these batteries.
The newly launched technology aims not only to be kinder on the environment but will also manage to increase battery capacity by up to 5% compared with cathode materials currently made from metal salts.
More ESG-friendly production process
The idea behind the initiative is to create a more ESG friendly production process and reduce cost, waste, energy and carbon footprint in the making of EV batteries. Using M2CAM it is possible to make the battery cathodes directly from pure nickel, manganese and cobalt metal powder instead of metal sulphates.
Nano One has patented a process called One-Pot that allows for coating of the cathodes in lithium-ion batteries with a nickel-rich substance that reduces the degradation frequently present in batteries that have been used for a period of time. The One-Pot process has now been successfully adapted for M2CAM.
Nano One in active talks with miners
Nano One is actively talking to a number of large integrated miners to reduce environmental footprints and maximize upstream value. The firm is also collaborating with equipment makers on meeting environmental targets by reducing waste, carbon emissions, logistics and costs.
Patents for M2CAM are pending. The new technology eliminates the need for costly and energy-intensive conversion of nickel, cobalt and manganese to sulphate, and lithium carbonate to hydroxide. It reduces the need to ship large quantities of water and sulphur and cuts down energy costs and costs of shipping by four-to-fivefold.
There is no longer a need to make precursor cathode active material and the environmental cost of handling a waste stream of sulphur and water has also been reduced four or five times. In the new process feedstock conversion, precursor formation, lithiation and coating steps are combined in a one-pot process which eventually forms single crystal cathode powders and protective coatings simultaneously.
In December the company signed a cathode evaluation and benchmark agreement with a major US-based electric car maker but at the time didn’t reveal the name of the company. The two firms are in the process of jointly evaluating Nano One’s cathode materials with a view to having a long-term commercial collaboration.
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