Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a new class of cobalt-free cathodes that show promise for use in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. The new cathodes are called NFA (nickel-, iron- and aluminum-based) and could be an alternative to more expensive battery technology currently in use. In addition, researchers expect the novel cathodes to achieve fast charging time, high energy density and improvement in life expectancy.
Ilias Belharouak is leading the research project and emphasizes the scope of his team's progress. He explains that demand for lithium-ion batteries is growing worldwide, with more than 100 million electric vehicles to be expected on the road by 2030. But rare cobalt currently makes batteries for electric vehicles expensive. Belharouak explaines: “We are developing a cathode that has similar or better electrochemical characteristics than cobalt-based cathodes while utilizing lower cost raw materials.”