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The world’s entire traffic volume is expanding rapidly. Combating the current trend, a large number of regulations and directives have been issued via international actions and domestic efforts, imposing more stringent rules on the emission of greenhouse gases in the manufacturing industry. As all-time pioneers of technological innovation, the automotive manufacturers and suppliers have taken up the challenge to achieve both profitability and sustainability, thus seeing the birth of electric cars.
In the burgeoning market of e-vehicles, the Chinese government is granting buyers of e-cars a premium of up to CNY 60,000 (approximately 8,800 dollars)—an amount which no other industrial nation can rival. The aim is to make China the world’s leading producer of electric vehicles. And such subsidies are just the beginning. It is reported that the Chinese government is intending to set up an investment program worth 100 billion RMB to boost the research and development of electric cars. By 2015, medium or heavy hybrid passenger vehicle ownership should reach 1 million; the brand-new hybrid passenger vehicle's average fuel consumption should achieve 5.9 liters / 100 km.
Today, almost all big-name automakers are committed to the development of e-vehicles. Yet, the technology is still at its infancy. Before commanding a significant share of the passenger transport electric cars have to overcome a number of obstacles, among which batteries are the toughest. Apart from building a comprehensive battery-recharging network, researchers are also trying to extend the service life of batteries themselves in order to support long-distance traveling.
To adapt to the trend of e-vehicles where batteries will take the place of internal combustion engines as the sole power source, the Inorganic Pigments business unit of LANXESS has become engine driving the development of iron oxide pigments, which play an important role in e-vehicles. Iron oxide pigments are used as iron raw materials for the production of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4 or LFP), which is used as a cathode material in batteries for electric vehicles.
Due to higher energy density, battery technology has gradually moved from the previous Nickelmetallhydrid (NiH) to the current Lithium-Ion Technology (Li). A rich assortment of Li-Ion technologies is now available in the market. Cathode technology, which needs to be balanced between energy density, safety, stability and costs, plays a crucial part in the success of batteries.
Among the various Li-Ion cathode materials, LiFePO4 cathodes have been proven to best balance all the requirements. The first generation LiFePO4 cathodes were based on precipitated technology. Now the technology is gradually turning to solid state, requiring high quality iron oxide pigments with superb consistency and reactivity. LANXESS can offer tailor made iron oxides with various particle sizes, crystal shapes and structures as well as purity levels in order to fulfill the highest requirements for all possible LiFePO4 synthesis routes.
Since the application field of battery chemicals is very much diversified and continuously developing, LANXESS products for battery applications are often tailored to individual customer requirements. With a variety of technical iron oxides in the portfolio, LANXESS can offer a number of alternatives for the production of lithium iron phosphate cathodes.
One of these alternatives is the magnetite Bayoxide® E 8611, a high quality technical iron oxide with impressive reactivity and purity. As an iron raw material, Bayoxide® E 8611 is widely used in multiple applications for the synthesis of iron chemicals.
LANXESS Inorganic Pigments business unit’s remarkable success is attributable, on the one hand, to its ample R&D investment, which constantly contributes to its expertise and know-how injection in the field of inorganic pigment/technical oxide production, and on the other hand, to the reliable and trustworthy partnerships that LANXESS built up along the whole industry value chain. LANXESS is currently the world’s largest producer of iron oxide pigments, hence possessing the highest capacity and plant availability to meet the increasing demand of iron oxide pigment for battery cathodes production of e-vehicles.
Being highly ecologically conscious in its production process, LANXESS is also recognized as the benchmark in sustainable and environmentally friendly manufacturing. The excellence of LANXESS’ products, which are jointly developed with customers in order to meet the demanding market needs, is well-illustrated in its high reactivity and quality consistency for long-term projects.