Greg Less, the technical director at the University of Michigan’s Battery Lab, says that Manthiram’s cathode material “shows great promise.” He says there’s still more testing that needs to be done to address problems seen with other similar cathode chemistries, such as the tendency for manganese to dissolve at elevated temperatures, but that the results from the initial tests of the battery are encouraging. “A cobalt-free alternative that can compete with cobalt-containing electrodes is very exciting,” Less says.
To make it happen, Manthiram and his team used specialized techniques to mix the ingredients just so at the nanoscale. This involves pumping solutions containing the nickel, manganese, and aluminum ions into a reactor where they’re mixed with another solution that combines with the metal ions. The result is a finely mixed powder of metal hydroxides that are baked with lithium hydroxide to create the material used for the cathode. The pumping