Toshiba announced that it had developed a lithium-ion battery that does not contain cobalt. Something that makes it more economical and more sustainable and that opens the door to new evolutions of current technology.
In addition to being cobalt-free, the battery, which has a niobium-titanium oxide (NTO) anode, has also demonstrated a high level of thermal stability and is capable of ultra-fast recharging, which during tests carried out by the Japanese manufacturer, has allowed a battery to be charged to 80% in just 5 minutes.
Toshiba evaluated the new technology with a prototype 1.5 Ah pouch battery. Testing of the battery found a high voltage of 3V or more, maintaining more than 80% of its original capacity after 6,000 cycles, even at temperatures of 60°C.
According to Yasuhiro Harada, principal researcher at the Nanomaterials Research Laboratory at Toshiba Research and Development Center, “To implement this technology for automotive use, 50 Ah or 100 Ah is needed, and we need to increase the capacity to achieve this goal. “To make the battery bigger, deep verification processes are still needed, and we believe we should start from areas with lower technical barriers and then target automotive applications with higher technical barriers.”
Estimates are that this alternative still has an evolution process ahead until it reaches a level of maturity sufficient for applications in electric vehicles. Toshiba itself estimates that it expects it to be on sale in 2028.
A new path for current lithium batteries sees the development of alternatives free of a material such as cobalt, which is widely used as a component of cathode materials and whose demand has skyrocketed in recent years, with severe environmental and humanitarian consequences in the countries from which it is extracted.
Many questions remain unanswered, such as energy and volumetric density and whether they will be a more economical option than those containing cobalt.