New Plant for Advanced Battery Materials
Wildcat Discovery Technologies has announced plans to build a plant in the United States dedicated to producing a range of nickel-free and cobalt-free cathode materials. This move marks a strategic development for Wildcat, which has been active in battery materials research and engineering since 2006.
Projected Timeline and Plant Capacity
The anticipated operational timeline for the new plant includes the production of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) by late 2026, lithium manganese iron phosphate (LMFP) in 2027, and disordered rock salt (DRX) in 2028. The plant, currently in the final stages of site selection, is expected to start with a capacity of 15,000 metric tons, with potential expansion to 30,000 metric tons.
Ongoing Collaborations and Advancements
Wildcat is already producing LFP samples for customers and is collaborating with a major commercial truck manufacturer on LMFP development. The company’s partnership with BMW is focused on advancing the development of DRX cathodes, which are reported to have an energy density 10-20% higher than leading nickel-based cathodes.
Strategic Focus on U.S.-Made Cathodes
Mark Gresser, President and CEO of Wildcat, emphasized the company’s new direction towards manufacturing high-performance U.S.-made cathodes. This initiative aims to meet the increasing demand for domestically produced cathodes for electric vehicles and grid storage, among other applications.
Market Demand and Production Strategy
There is a growing demand for nickel-free cathode materials produced in North America, especially considering the cost implications of cathodes in battery cell production. Currently, over 95% of the global LFP supply originates from China. Wildcat’s expertise in battery development positions it advantageously for scaling cathode materials in the market.
High Throughput Platform for Material Development
Wildcat utilizes a high throughput platform for rapid and comprehensive experimentation, significantly accelerating the process of materials benchmarking, cell optimization, and systematic scale-up. This approach enables the company to efficiently pair cathode materials with suitable anodes and electrolytes.
Holistic Approach to Battery Cell Integration
Recognizing the complexity of battery cells, Wildcat focuses on partnering with customers to integrate all elements of the battery cell effectively. This approach aims to ensure optimal performance and value of the final product.