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Direct metal conversion streamlines cathode-material supply chain

By Mary Page Bailey |

As application demands evolve, battery materials have gotten more complex, incorporating not only lithium, but higher nickel, manganese and cobalt content, while also including various dopants like aluminum or zirconium and stabilizing coatings. Processing all of these disparate components into battery cathode-active materials (CAM) often requires numerous complicated steps, from precipitation of metal sulfates to several grinding and regrinding cycles. Nano One Materials Corp. (Vancouver, B.C., Canada; www.nanoone.ca) aims to simplify the CAM supply chain by demonstrating that its single-step aqueous technology (the one-pot process) can be used for direct metal-to-CAM (M2CAM) conversion, eliminating sulfates from the process. “An issue with using traditional metal sulfates is that they are only about 22% metal, so you’re shipping a lot of extra weight in sulfates and water that aren’t really part of the active material. There’s a lot of wasted energy and extra greenhouse-gas emissions,” says Stephen Campbell, chief technology officer at Nano One. In the one-pot process, all components are placed into an aqueous reaction to form a precursor slurry. The slurry is dried and fired, creating CAM nanocrystals. “Normally, when…
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