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High-nickel layered oxide cathodes for lithium-based automotive batteries

Abstract

High-nickel layered oxide cathode materials will be at the forefront to enable longer driving-range electric vehicles at more affordable costs with lithium-based batteries. A continued push to higher energy content and less usage of costly raw materials, such as cobalt, while preserving acceptable power, lifetime and safety metrics, calls for a suite of strategic compositional, morphological and microstructural designs and efficient material production processes. In this Perspective, we discuss several important design considerations for high-nickel layered oxide cathodes that will be implemented in the automotive market for the coming decade. We outline various intrinsic restraints of maximizing their energy output and compare current/emerging development roadmaps approaching low-/zero-cobalt chemistry. Materials production is another focus, relevant to driving down costs and addressing the practical challenges of high-nickel layered oxides for demanding vehicle applications. We further assess a series of stabilization techniques on their prospects to fulfill the aggressive targets of vehicle electrification.

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Fig. 1: Lithium-ion batteries for the automotive market and cathode material landscape.
Fig. 2: Compositional design principles of high-energy, low-cobalt layered oxides.
Fig. 3: Production and conditioning processes for high-energy, low-cobalt layered oxides.

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Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the support from the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Vehicle Technologies of the US Department of Energy through the award number DE-EE0008445 and the Welch Foundation F-1254.

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Correspondence to Arumugam Manthiram.

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The authors have founded a startup company called TexPower to develop low-cobalt and cobalt-free cathode materials for lithium-based batteries.

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Li, W., Erickson, E.M. & Manthiram, A. High-nickel layered oxide cathodes for lithium-based automotive batteries. Nat Energy 5, 26–34 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-019-0513-0

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