Toshiba Corporation has developed a new lithium-ion battery using a cobalt-free 5V-class high-potential cathode material that significantly suppresses performance-degrading gases produced as side reactions. This battery can operate in a wide range of applications, from power tools to electric vehicles.
Cobalt and nickel are widely used to stabilize the cathodes of lithium-ion batteries. However, cobalt is a rare metal, and there are potential issues in cost stability and supply-chain reliability. There are also concerns with nickel, as increased demand in recent years has pushed up market prices. Toshiba’s lithium-ion battery cathode is free of cobalt and contains less nickel, making it a superior solution in terms of cost and resource conservation.
The use of a 5V-class, high-potential cathode in lithium-ion batteries will increase cell voltage and power performance, but its development has been held back by a practical problem: a side reaction that causes electrolyte decomposition and the generation of gas that degrades battery performance. Toshiba’s new cathode significantly suppresses gas generation when used with a conventional high conductivity electrolyte.
Toshiba has prototyped a pouch lithium-ion battery that combines its new cathode with a niobium titanium oxide (NTO) anode (Figure 1). In tests, the battery demonstrates a high voltage of over 3V, fast charging to 80% of capacity in 5 minutes, high power performance, and excellent lifetime characteristics, even at a temperature of 60°C. Target applications for the battery range from power tools and industrial application that require high voltage with a small battery pack, up to electric vehicles.
Toshiba will present the cathode technology at The 64th Battery Symposium of Japan, which will be held at the Osaka International Convention Center from November 28 to 30, 2023.