Novonix looks to commercialise ‘breakthrough’ cathode manufacturing technology

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By Lorna Nicholas - 
NOVONIX ASX NVX manufacture single crystal NMC cathode material Dry Particle Microgranulation

Novonix BTS chief executive officer Dr Chris Burns said there were commercial opportunities for single crystal cathode material and the dry particle microgranulation process.


Lithium-ion battery technology developer Novonix (ASX: NVX) has developed a fully-patented “breakthrough” cathode manufacturing method using its proprietary dry particle microgranulation (DPMG) process.

According to Novonix, single crystal cathode materials have become an aspiration for the lithium-ion battery industry because they outperform traditional cathode material.

Compared to tradition material, the single crystal cathode design possesses enhanced energy density and ultra-long life when used in electric vehicles and energy storage systems.

The research was carried out in partnership with Professor Mark Obrovac’s research group at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.

Today’s announcement follows Novonix revealing the success of its DPMG technique last month, which was also conducted in conjunction with Prof Obrovac.

Novonix managing director Phil St Baker said the DPMG technique that has enabled development of the new single crystal cathode materials was a “breakthrough step-change” in improving the cost, performance and sustainability of a lithium-ion battery for electric vehicle and renewable energy applications.

“The single crystal cathode development complements Novonix’s PUREgraphite anode product – both addressing the ultra-long-life battery performance requirements critical to achieving the million-mile battery life being sought by leading electric vehicle manufacturers,” Mr St Baker added.

Novonix pointed out that renowned lithium-ion battery innovator Prof Jeff Dahn, who is also based at Dalhousie University, had undertaken research into the significance of single crystal cathode with his team.

Prof Dahn and his team published a paper claiming batteries with the single crystal cathode could power and electric vehicle fore more than 1.6 million kilometres and last at least two decades in grid energy storage.

The company’s US-based Novonix BTS division holds all the intellectual property rights to the single crystal cathode technology on an exclusive and royalty-free basis.

Commercial opportunities for Novonix

Novonix BTS chief executive officer Dr Chris Burns said the research indicates the commercial opportunity in the DPMG and the single crystal cathode material.

“After discovering the possibility to dry-synthesise cathode particles with polycrystalline structures using DPMG, the team immediately thought about how to use this technique to also make single crystal particles,” Dr Burns explained.

“At Novonix BTS we work with various nickel manganese cobalt and nickel cobalt aluminium style cathodes and continue to find that single crystal materials are the best choice for long cycle life applications such as electric vehicles and energy storage systems,” he added.

Meanwhile, Prof Obrovac claims current research has only “tapped a fraction” of the opportunities in developing advanced battery manufacturing methods and materials, while lowering costs and generating higher-performance batteries.

Novonix has attracted a lot of investor interest in recent weeks amid rumours of a collaboration with Tesla, along with the company’s transition to commercial anode production under a supply agreement with Samsung.