Chemical firm Nippon Shokubai announced plans on 1 October to build a facility to manufacture 2,000 tons of lithium-ion electrolytes a year.
The Japanese firm will develop lithium bis(fluorosulfonyl)imide (LiFSI) for lithium-ion batteries using its own processes.
The use of LiFSI as the electrolyte of lithium-ion batteries can improve the cycle characteristics, rate characteristics, and storage stability of batteries for electric vehicle applications over a wide temperature range.
Ionel is a high-purity LiFSI protected by Nippon Shokubai’s patents. The company will set up its own ‘Ionel Construction Team’ to develop the electrolyte.
The company aims to fill a supply gap it forecasts will appear due to increasing demand.
A company statement read: “Ionel is used not only as an additive in electrolytes but also as a main salt in electrolytes, and demand for Ionel is expanding mainly in Asia. Demand for Ionel is also expected to expand as it improves the performance of next-generation innovative batteries such as all-solid-state batteries.”
LiFSI is difficult to achieve high purity, and its production and quality control require a high level of know-how.
Commercial production is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2023, with the company forecasting sales of more than 10 billion yen ($95 million) by 2024.
As the LiFSI market is expected to expand globally, Shokubai is considering new capital investment plans in Europe to meet demand after 2025.