Euro Manganese Inc (ASX:EMN) (CVE:EMN) (OTCMKTS:EROMF) (FRA:E06) has welcomed news from Chinese high-tech company SVOLT Energy Technology Co., Ltd. (SVOLT) that its new cobalt-free batteries are available to order worldwide.
SVOLT develops and produces lithium-ion batteries and battery systems for electric vehicles and energy storage systems, and the new cobalt-free batteries use on a novel mix of nickel and manganese (or NMX).
SVOLT is also building a Gigafactory in Germany which should be producing the cells by mid-year, which Euro Manganese CEO Marco Romero said could bode well for the company's Chvaletice Manganese Project in the Czech Republic.
He said: “Our project is well-positioned to provide high-purity manganese products for European battery makers who want a stable, local source of supply that meets or exceeds stringent environmental standards.”
Thermal stabilisation benefits
The nickel manganese battery cells achieve an energy density comparable to that of conventional high-nickel cells, but without cobalt they are more sustainable, durable and more economical.
Usually, cobalt is used for thermal stabilisation in NCM cells, but these cells will instead be stabilised to compensate for the cobalt properties by a specially developed doping and coating processes.
According to SVOLT this means the NMX cells will achieve higher thermal stability and overall safety than NCM cells.
SVOLT uses a nickel content of 75 per cent, while the manganese content is 25 per cent – which is higher than NCM811 cells (usually only around 10%).
Since the nickel content has been reduced, the cells are also five per cent cheaper than classic NCM cells and the energy density is about five per cent lower than the value for NCM technology.
By the end of 2023, the new batteries could also be produced at SVOLT’s €2 billion planned Gigafactory plant in Saarland, Germany.
The plant will consist of a module and pack factory as well as a state-of-the-art cell factory with 24 GWh production capacity in the final expansion stage - which corresponds to batteries for 300,000 to 500,000 electric cars per year.
Sustainable supply chain
For SVOLT, sustainable, responsible use of natural resources is key, and the company is working to establish a transparent supply chain and to continuously improve its production technologies and recycling processes.
This bodes well for the Chvaletice Project which is intended to recycle waste from a decommissioned mine to produce ultra-high-purity manganese products, principally for electric vehicle batteries.
Chvaletice Manganese Project
The Chvaletice project is progressing towards development, with definitive feasibility study well underway and targeted for completion by the end of the year.
Work on the Final Environmental Impact Assessment is scheduled to begin in mid-2021 and is also expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Importantly, the procurement and fabrication of the project’s demonstration plant are on schedule with delivery expected mid-year.
The company’s goal is to become a leading, competitive, and environmentally superior primary producer of Ultra-High-Purity Manganese Products in the heart of Europe, serving both the lithium-ion battery industry, as well as producers of specialty steel and aluminium alloys.
Meeting European demand
Additionally, the company believes that the project’s location in the heart of Europe’s fast-growing EV production hub makes it a European and globally strategic asset.
Demand for high-purity manganese products is growing rapidly, fuelled largely by the Li-ion and electric vehicle markets, particularly in Europe where 100% of high-purity manganese products are imported.
Chvaletice is targeting production of ultra-high-purity electrolytic manganese metal (HPEMM) with specifications exceeding 99.9% manganese and ultra-high-purity manganese sulphate monohydrate (HPMSM) with a minimum manganese content of 32.34%, both of which exceed typical industry standards.
Looking at the wider market, there is more good news in the next few years for manganese producers like EMN, with Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) (BMV:TSLA) (FRA:TL0) revealing plans to increase the manganese content in their new formulation to 33%