(587d) Economic Analysis of Battery (NMC) Cathode Material Production in Flame Spray Process with Sustainable Solvents

Authors: 
Zang, G., University of Missouri
Zhang, J., University of Missouri
Xu, S., University of Missouri
Xing, Y., University of Missouri
The cost of cathode materials contributes approximately 32.7% to the cell construction cost of lithium-ion batteries, which has a significant impact on the price of battery packs. The synthetic routes of cathode material (LiNi1/3Mn1/3Co1/3O2 (NMC333)) based on the solid-state method or co-precipitation method involve complex mixing, drying, and sintering processes, resulting in a material cost too high to reach the U.S. Department of Energy battery price target of $125/kWh. To reduce the cathode material manufacturing cost, our lab has developed a flame spray process that utilize sustainable solvent glycerol as solvent to manufacture the cathode material. The economic analysis of the new green chemical process was studied based on discounted cash flow method. The major economic indicator used in this study is the minimum cathode material selling price (MCSP), whereas the co-precipitation method for NMC333 production was selected as the reference for economic analysis. Results show that compared with the co-precipitation method, the new flame spray process has the potential to reduce the operation cost by 31% with comparable capital investment and material cost. Moreover, MCSP of the new process is $19.1/kg, which is 83% of that of the co-precipitation method. When the flame spray process is integrated with the sintering process inline, the MCSP is as low as 15.6 $/kg, which demonstrates that the new process is an attractive manufacturing process for cathode material production. Furthermore, sensitivity analysis and uncertainty analysis were used to examine the effects of plant scale, raw material price, and analysis parameters on the MCSP and evaluate the certainty interval of the MCSP of the flame spray process.