Sylvatex expects its technology to reduce the total cost of cathode manufacturing by 25 percent,  while slashing plant capital requirements by 40 percent and energy use by up to 80 percent

September 20, 2022

ALAMEDA, Calif.—Improved methods of manufacturing cathode active material (CAM) are critical to meeting long-term demand for lithium-ion batteries and exceeding electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers’ cost reduction targets. The advanced materials technology company Sylvatex Inc. (SVX) reportedly has developed, and is commercializing, such an improvement.

Sylvatex’s lithium-ion cathode production technology uses an environmentally sustainable, waterless manufacturing process and unlocks greater cost-efficiency in battery production, according to a release from the company. Besides producing premium EV-grade cathode active material at “dramatically lower costs,” the new cathode manufacturing process is said to allow for a broader supply base of input materials to accommodate growing demand.

Sylvatex said its approach to cathode active material production is “simpler and more sustainable,” and expects it to enable a 25 percent reduction in CAM cost and a 40 percent reduction in plant capital requirements.

About 100 additional CAM plants—or 5 million additional tons—will need to be in production by 2032 to meet increasing EV demands, the company said. Today’s cathode production methods would require $200 billion in manufacturing capital deployment and 20 billion gallons of water consumed annually—equivalent to the water usage of 182,000 American homes. Sylvatex said its new method brings sustainability to cathode manufacturing by eliminating water use while delivering substantial cost reductions and using up to 80 percent less energy.

“Today’s method for producing cathodes is extremely costly and requires an incredible amount of resources. If we’re to realize the clean energy transition, battery production must scale dramatically and evolve into a more cost-effective and sustainable process,” said Danny Kennedy, CEO of New Energy Nexus, in the release. New Energy Nexus is an international clean energy accelerator that awarded Sylvatex a grant to further develop its technology. “Clean energy innovators like SVX are the next generation of pioneers that will ultimately drive the growth of the EV market.”

Sylvatex said it recently closed a Series A funding round of $8.4 million to support commercializing and scaling its technology. In addition to lead investor Catalus Capital, participating investors included Amplify Capital and How Women Invest. The company has also received additional grant financing from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), and others. Sylvatex continues to collaborate with battery industry experts and collaborators at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory, the company said.

Global lithium-ion battery capacity is expected to rise up to 10-fold in the next decade to support the growing electric vehicle (EV) and grid storage markets. The market for cathode active material (CAM) alone, the most expensive component in the production of lithium-ion batteries and a trigger of bottlenecks, is projected to grow to $189 billion by 2032, according to Sylvatex.

“The existing EV supply chain requires innovation to deliver materials faster, more sustainably, and at a lower cost. SVX’s production technology is core to that vision,” said SVX founder and CEO Virginia Irwin Klausmeier, in the release. “As EV production scales exponentially over time, conventional methods are not economically feasible or environmentally viable; battery manufacturing plants are too capital-intensive, production is too expensive, and the immense amount of water required cannot be sustained in a time of extended droughts. We are working to show our industry a more sustainable path forward while reducing costs for battery production that future-proofs manufacturing for decades to come.”

Subscribe Now

Design-2-Part Magazine

Get the manufacturing industry news and features you need for free in a format you like.

FREE Print, Digital, or Both »

You have Successfully Subscribed!