LG Chem said it had begun mass production of high nickel cathode materials based on a single crystal structure which, the company added, offer higher energy density and a longer life cycle for next generation electric vehicle (EV) batteries than current batteries.

Cathodes determine the power output of lithium ion batteries and currently account for around 40% of the cost of a battery cell. LG Chem said single crystal cathodes bring various metals, including nickel, manganese and cobalt, into a single body structure.

Conventional cathodes, on the other hand, have a poly crystal structure consisting of metal particles aggregated into smaller clusters which the company said often generate fissures after repeated discharging and recharging, allowing gas to form which negatively affects the battery’s performance and life cycle.

LG Chem’s first plant to produce the single crystal cathode material, in Cheongju, is scheduled to begin deliveries to customers in July, to be followed by its Gumi plant in the south east.

Combined output is expected to reach 50,000 tons per year before the company shifts its entire cathode production to single crystal materials.

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