LG Chem has started the mass production of single-crystal high-nickel cathodes for next-generation batteries at its cathode plant located in Cheongju, 120 kilometres southwest of Seoul. The first batches will be sent to global clients starting in July. LG Chem then plans to expand the single-crystal high-nickel cathode production line to its Gumi plant by 2027 and increase the total annual production scale to more than 50,000 tons.
“We believe single-crystal high-nickel cathodes are a game-changing innovation in the future battery material market and also the key to solving our customers’ pain points,” said LG Chem CEO Shin Hak-Cheol. “LG Chem will lead the market with advanced battery material technology and diversified product portfolio to become the largest integrated battery materials provider in the world.”
In the initial phases, LG Chem will be mixing single-crystal cathode materials to conventional cathode materials by a ratio of 2:8, and gradually switch to those containing 100% single-crystals. LG Chem will also expand the application of these cathode materials to next-generation batteries such as 4680 cylindrical cells (with external dimensions of 46 millimeters in diameter and 80 millimeters in height) from existing pouch-type batteries.
Single-crystal high-nickel cathodes are made from single particles of several metals such as nickel, cobalt, and manganese, and are expected to play a pivotal role in settling the key challenges of next-generation batteries in terms of lifespan and capacity. It can help boosting the battery lifespan by more than 30% and increasing the capacity by 10% or higher.
LG Chem is the first to mass-produce single-crystal high-nickel cathode materials in Korea. Since 2021, LG Chem has been researching and developing ways to solve the pain point of customers, namely the battery gas.