The Cobalt-Free Cathode Material, developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for use in lithium-ion batteries, is made with nickel, iron and aluminum in the place of cobalt, which is significantly more expensive. The novel cathode has performance equivalent to the mainstream cobalt-containing cathodes used in today’s lithium-ion batteries. Manufacturing of the new cobalt-free cathode will be seamless because the materials and their electrochemical behavior are nearly identical to those of current commercial products. The entry barrier for manufacturers is therefore very low, so profit margins should be unaffected. As cobalt becomes scarcer and prices fluctuate, it is imperative that an alternative cathode be found for lithium-ion batteries. ORNL’s solution provides a means to manufacture lithium-ion batteries at lower cost with more readily available, cheaper materials while maintaining performance and creating minimum disruption to the manufacturing process. The NFA class of materials paves the way for introducing a new, cost-effective cathode chemistry with long life, enhanced safety and fast charging to the battery-manufacturing supply chain.
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