Johnson Matthey’s nickel-rich eLNO battery material technology is to debut at COP26 in Glasgow in November, in a two-seater electric race car.

ELNO is a family of nickel-rich cathode materials, which safely enables batteries to perform better and charge more quickly while retaining lifetime.

The supplier partnered with the Envision Virgin Racing team to develop the race car.

A customisable family of nickel-rich cathode materials, eLNO will meet battery performance requirements for individual EV platforms. ELNO enables batteries to have around 20% greater energy density compared to today’s typical NMC cathode material technology.

It is suitable for use in cells powering a range of EVs, particularly those with fast charging, high performance and long-range requirements, such as larger passenger cars and SUVs.

Johnson Matthey notes its scientists have enhanced the chemistry of the cathode material using a stabiliser package and surface modification, engineering the cathode material down to the atomic level. This enables the use of high nickel contents for increased driving range, as well as a reduction in the level of cobalt present, to sustain cycle life and stability.

Already in pilot production and being trialled by customers, eLNO will be supplied to customers in Europe from two new production facilities. The first facility in Poland is in construction and will be completed in 2022, for commercial production in 2024. A second eLNO plant is also planned in Finland.

The battery cells were developed and produced by EAS Batteries. The German manufacturer is the first in Europe to produce large battery cells for an automotive application that feature nickel-rich eLNO cathode chemistry.

The cylindrical 602030-format cells were manufactured using an almost dry coating process – which has a far lower carbon footprint than typical wet coating – with a non-toxic solvent and less solvent waste than typical cell production processes.

“Our eLNO technology will provide a step-change in battery energy density for electric vehicles going on sale in just a few years’ time,” said Johnson Matthey Battery Materials Sector chief executive, Christian Günther.