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Dow Energy Materials launches new manganese iron phosphate material for improved battery performance; 10–15% higher energy density

Voltage profile of LMFP. Source: DEM. Click to enlarge.

Dow Energy Materials (DEM), a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, has introduced a newly developed phosphate-based battery material, Lithium Manganese Iron Phosphate (LMFP), which increases energy density by 10—15% in battery cells over iron phosphate material [LFP]. As a result, this technology can enable energy storage systems to weigh less and require fewer cells, which in turn can lower cost.

The material, which offers the safety and cycle life of iron phosphate chemistries, has an energy density in the 150+ Wh/g range, according to DEM. The new material could initially serve as a “drop-in” upgrade for existing iron phosphate-based materials in cells using existing electrolyte and anode combinations, suggested David Klanecky, senior business director, Dow Energy Materials.

The key value proposition [of the LMFP] is the energy density improvement that cell manufacturers can take advantage of over incumbent LFP material. Especially in Asia-Pacific, there is a lot of [LFP] cell manufacturing capacity. The LMFP can be looked as a drop-in for improvements for current iron phosphate systems today, with not a lot of special processing or new separator. There is an opportunity to take advantage of that in that [phosphate] market today. We continue to work at system approaches with the material—such as a better electrolyte.

—David Klanecky

Dow Energy Materials (DEM) is a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company formed in 2010 to focus on the development of advanced battery systems (cathode, anode, electrolyte). DEM is distinct from Dow’s battery manufacturing JV Dow Kokam; DEM will supply materials to any battery manufacturer. In addition to the phosphate cathode materials, DEM is also providing NMC cathode materials. (Earlier post.)

The LMFP material operates with a broader voltage range than conventional iron phosphate materials, Klanecky said, and is targeted for a number of different applications, including electric vehicles, e-bikes, start-stop batteries as well as power tools.

DEM has sampled the LMFP materials with multiple customers, Klanecky said, and is in the process of scaling up production now. Feedback from the cell manufacturers has validated the performance results DEM was seeing in its own lab, he added.

Using the LMFP material now can offer cell manufacturers a bump in performance, and DEM is continuing to work to evolve the capabilities of the material in coordination with its customers (i.e., battery manufacturers). At the same time, DEM also continues to investigate new materials that might offer a step change in capability.

As we look out into our portfolio, one of the key focuses is how can we double the energy density from what there is today. Our strategy is to focus on the combination of anode, cathode and electrolyte—all have to work together. There definitely has to be the breakthrough, the continual development of material to really drive down the cost. Scale is a factor [for cost reduction] but not as big as the general improvement in materials themselves.

—David Klanecky

DEM is taking a multi-pronged approach from a chemistry perspective for the next generational step, Klanecky said: more in the metal oxides from a cathode perspective, silicon on the anode side, a number of different electrolyte systems. And while DEM does have some small programs investigating systems beyond Li-ion, “we also believe there is a lot of runway in Li-ion to extract value from the Li-ion chemistry,” Klanecky said.

There is a lot of fundamental work going on in these further-out chemistries, with a basis in the theoretical limits of the chemistry, and what is realistically achievable. There are a lot of materials out there that can come in at a decent scale, but if you look at the cost of manufacturing, it’s just far from being reality.

If we want to scale up, we have to look at what it looks like form the cost of manufacturing standpoint. All those things come into play. The tip of the iceberg is the new technology; there is a lot beneath the water for scale-up. Our strategy remains to continue to develop the best materials out there at the lowest cost and to do everything we can to help on the dollar per kWh. There is a market for phosphate chemistry out there, we believe we can take advantage of that. We can bring material to market to help enable cell manufacturers to be more successful.

—David Klanecky

The components that go into an advanced lithium-ion battery represent 30% of the total cell cost, DEM says.



Why doesn't Dow bring this chemistry to market in the form of a cell instead of selling the materials to another middle man, I.e., the cell manufacturer. This would reduce the cost by another factor. Dow is large enough to buy A123 and immediately start production. Dow has a mature management that has proven itself over a long period and is just the company to turn A123 into a success and at the same time advance the EV movement.

Additionally, Dow should sell their products, in the form of production cells, not only to OEMs but also directly to DIYers as this will put their product right into the grass roots market where it will gain the notoriety Dow deserves.

Dow has an opportunity to expand greatly with this chemistry if it makes the right decisions.

Dave R

@Lad Dow Kokam produces cells. I know they've also sponsored a few EV race cars, like the White Zombie drag racer and MotoCzysz.

You have to imagine that they'll put this new chemistry into the Dow Kokam cells if they haven't already.

As for selling to the DIY crowd... it seems that the DIY crowd can only get Chinese batteries and A123 seconds on the grey market.


%Dave R:
Thanks, I should have put that together knowing Wayland's story with White Zombie...didn't realize it was the same Dow company.

Yes,I see sales to DIYers as an indirect way of supporting the EV movement by selling more inventory and improving the economies of scale. If Li batteries were half the cost of Pb, we would be half way to the President's goal of a millon EVs in a couple more years and a lot less dependent on oil imports and, God Bless 'em, our own predatory oil companies.

But hey!, what do I know, I'm just one member of the huge number of the "Great American Unwashed."


Many more such mini-steps are required to power future long range electrified vehicles. Batteries performance needs to be improved 3X to 5X and their cost (per kWh) reduced by 70% to 80%.



Current battery performance is all right. Just what really matter - cost.


Darius...Batteries cost will probably go down with high performance i.e. higher energy density and longer life-duration. That's what happened in the last few years.

Electrified vehicles will have longer range with lighter and/or higher performance batteries.

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