Abstract: On the eve of “mass production” of lithium iron manganese phosphate, listed companies are scrambling to reserve production capacity.
Lithium iron phosphate batteries have now become the mainstream battery category for new energy vehicles, with a market share of about 60%. However, the energy density of lithium iron phosphate cathodes is close to the “ceiling”. In this context, lithium manganese iron phosphate (LMFP) has attracted much market attention as an upgraded alternative to lithium iron phosphate.
A reporter from the Shanghai Securities News learned from the industry that compared with lithium iron phosphate, lithium iron manganese phosphate can increase the energy density of batteries by more than 15%, and has the characteristics of safety, low-temperature resistance, and low cost. Lithium iron manganese phosphate has formed a considerable market scale in the small power market and is expected to be widely used in 3C digital, power market, and other fields.
The agency predicts that by 2030, the market share of lithium iron manganese phosphate will reach more than 30%. At present, there is a certain amount of lithium iron manganese phosphate production capacity in China, and the lithium iron manganese phosphate batteries of many manufacturers have entered the stage of sample delivery and certification. A number of listed companies are actively deploying lithium iron manganese phosphate business.
1. Cost-effective battery route
More “manganese” than lithium iron phosphate, will it be more fierce? Many industry experts said that lithium iron manganese phosphate can be regarded as a “combination” of the advantages of lithium iron phosphate and ternary materials
Mo Ke, founder and CEO of True Lithium Research, told reporters that the biggest advantage of the lithium iron manganese phosphate battery route is its high-cost performance. At present, the two mainstream routes of lithium iron phosphate and ternary materials have their own advantages, and lithium iron manganese phosphate combines the advantages of both. On the one hand, its production cost is relatively low, its safety is high, and it has good low-temperature resistance; on the other hand, its voltage platform is relatively high, and its energy density can be increased by 15% compared with lithium iron phosphate.
Zhao Chenglong, president of Phylion Power Battery Engineering Institute, said that lithium iron manganese phosphate has both the high voltage of lithium manganate and the high stability of lithium iron phosphate. If lithium iron phosphate with high manganese content, high compaction, and high capacity is successfully developed, it will replace lithium iron phosphate.
Rongai Technology said that in the future, pure lithium iron manganese phosphate products will replace medium and low nickel ternary materials, and have a wide range of applications in the medium and low-end power market and energy storage market.
In addition to being used alone, lithium iron manganese phosphate can also be mixed with other cathode materials to improve battery performance. According to Zhao Chenglong, in the field of two-wheeled vehicles, the mixed-use of lithium iron manganese phosphate with lithium manganate and ternary materials has been put into the market, and the route switching has been basically completed.
Haitong International believes that the composite of lithium iron manganese phosphate and ternary 523, LCO, and other materials can further integrate the advantages of materials, realize short-board complementarity, improve energy density, and corresponding production costs will also increase.
2. A-share companies scramble to be the first
As a battery route that has not yet achieved full industry chain certification and commercialization, lithium iron manganese phosphate is currently on the “eve” of mass production, and battery samples have entered the stage of testing and certification by the depot. Listed companies are also stepping up their layout and expanding production capacity.
The staff of Yiwei Lithium Energy Securities Department told reporters that the company’s lithium iron manganese phosphate battery is in the stage of sample delivery, and the subsidiary Jinquan New Materials has a certain production capacity, and the specific progress is subject to the announcement.
Hezong Technology said on the investor interaction platform on July 22 that the company has completed the pilot test of multi-model lithium iron manganese phosphate precursor products, and has begun to send samples to downstream new energy companies for testing.
The relevant person in charge of Guoxuan Hi-Tech told reporters that lithium iron manganese phosphate is not the company’s main business, and the company has a patent layout, but the specific commercial application plan is not yet known.
A number of leading cathode material manufacturers have also actively reserved the production capacity of lithium iron manganese phosphate materials.
Rongbai Technology announced on July 20 that it plans to use its own and self-raised funds of 389 million yuan to invest in Scroland. After the completion of the transaction, the company will hold 68.25% of Skoland. Rongbai Technology said that the acquisition of Skoland is an important step for the company to transform into a comprehensive supplier of cathode materials.
Li Jigang, general manager of Skoland, said that the 10,000-ton lithium iron manganese phosphate production line of Linfen Zhongbei New Materials Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Skoland, has been successfully put into operation. Through cooperation with Rongbai Technology, Skoland will be empowered in terms of capital, enterprise management, quality control, etc., which will enable the company to become bigger and stronger quickly and maintain its leading position in the industry.
On July 20, Dangsheng Technology released 3 new cathode materials including lithium manganese iron phosphate, and introduced the product features and technological breakthroughs in detail.
Some listed companies’ lithium iron manganese phosphate production lines are about to be put into production. The relevant person in charge of German Nano told reporters that the company will have 110,000 tons of lithium iron manganese phosphate cathode materials put into production in the fourth quarter of this year. In addition, the project of a new phosphate-based cathode material production base with an annual output of 330,000 tons in Qujing, Yunnan disclosed earlier this year is also a lithium iron manganese phosphate production capacity.
When it comes to the mass production and commercialization of lithium manganese iron phosphate batteries, Li Jigang said that the certification of lithium iron manganese iron phosphate batteries should not take a long time. Perhaps in about half a year, lithium iron manganese phosphate will enter the commercialization stage. Zhao Chenglong said that the development of pure lithium iron manganese phosphate is progressing smoothly, and related products are expected to appear in the middle of next year.
Mo Ke predicts that the lithium iron manganese phosphate battery can be mass-produced as soon as next year. After mass production, the industry may take 1 to 3 years to solve problems in practical applications, and then move towards maturity and large-scale commercialization.
3. Will manganese resources become an outlet?
As the lithium iron manganese phosphate stands on the “outlet”, the manganese element has also attracted the attention of the market. Many institutions believe that manganese will become the “fourth battery metal that cannot be ignored” in the future.
According to statistics from Shanghai Nonferrous Metals Network, each ton of lithium iron manganese phosphate contains about 330 kilograms of manganese raw materials. CITIC Securities said that the raw material cost of lithium iron manganese phosphate is close to that of lithium iron phosphate, and the main difference is the change in the amount of manganese source required. Consulting firm Wood Mackenzie predicts that the use of manganese in batteries will increase fivefold by 2040.
Zhao Chenglong said that lithium iron manganese phosphate has a general pulling effect on the demand for manganese, but there is a pulling effect on the demand for high-purity manganese carbonate and manganese oxide.
Mo Ke believes that, unlike rare metals such as cobalt, manganese is a large and wide-ranging metal resource, and there is basically no resource bottleneck problem in the lithium iron manganese phosphate route.