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De-China LFP attracts worldwide attention--Interview with Taiwan Aleees vol.1

11/01/2022 21:26 FREE

 Taiwan's Aleees has attracted attention for its construction of an LFP cathode material manufacturing plant with Norway's FREYR Battery. Why is Aleees being inundated with inquiries from all over the world? We interviewed Mr. Kaifeng Yeh, CEO and Vice President in charge of public relations, about the direction Aleees is heading and its future goals. This article presents the first part of the interview.

 

 

写真

Left: Ms. KaifengYeh, Right: Reporter

 

 

 The interview was conducted in a relaxed mood from start to finish, as the mothers of children close in age to each other were also present during the chatting.I would like to thank Ms. Yeh for her thoughtfulness.
 

 Aleees, located in the Turtle Island Industrial Zone of Taoyuan City, Taiwan, has been a leading manufacturer of LFP cathode materials and provider of intellectual property since its establishment in 2005. The official name of the company is Likai Electric (abbreviated as Likai Electric), and its English name is AdvancedLithiumElectrochemistryCo.,Ltd. The company is commonly known as Aleees, combining the English company name with Environmentalsolutions (EES), which is a breakthrough for the SDGs.
 

“I think there are three main reasons why Aleees is getting so much attention,"Ms. Yeh said.

 The first is the demand for LFPs, which is a prerequisite: now that Tesla has adopted LFPs as the battery of choice for EVs, it is obvious that others will follow suit, and many companies around the world are looking for LFPs.

 
 Second, there are only a limited number of companies capable of manufacturing de-Chinese LFPs. At present, Aleees and Japan's Sumitomo Metal Mining are the only two companies in the world other than Chinese companies that have both precursor technology and LFP cathode material production technology. The manufacturing line is located on the premises of Aleees' headquarters and produces 2,500 tons of cathode material per year. Incidentally, China's production capacity in 2022 will reach 1 million tons per year.


 The third is the global trend of "de-China" and "SDGs" followed by "homegrown production and homegrown consumption. Currently, the manufacture of many products around the world is in China's hands. The same is true for lithium-ion batteries. In particular, 99% of LFPs distributed worldwide are manufactured in China. The spread of the new coronavirus has strengthened the "de-China" trend in many countries. So what can be done to de-China? One answer would be to manufacture what is needed in one's own country in one's own country. At the same time, the tide of SDGs is unlikely to change in the future. In achieving low-carbon and decarbonization, "homegrown production and homegrown consumption" is a way of thinking that is in line with the next generation of trends.


 Let me elaborate on the above.

 

LFP has a history of more than 20 years, but is also a new technology
 "LFP cathode material is a technology that was developed more than 20 years ago. It may sound old, but it is still a new battery material with a lot of room for development," says Yeh. This is because LFP cathode materials are not standardized products, and it takes about 3-5 years from development to certification and mass production for each product, which also requires customization. On the other hand, once certification is obtained and mass production begins, the product life cycle can be as long as 20 years, she said. With semi-solid-state batteries currently at the stage where they can be commercialized and mass-produced, and all-solid-state batteries under development, "there is still a lot of room for development and progress," she said.


Aleees Remains Focused on LFP Cathode Materials
 Cathode materials have only recently begun to attract attention, and until then, with the exception of cobalt for smartphones, cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries were ternary, but when Aleees was founded, ternary materials were still in the limelight, and Aleees' founder, the current chairman of the board, has been working on the development of LFP cathode materials from the perspective of green energy and global environmental pollution. While chemical plants are often associated with environmental pollution problems, wastewater from Aleees' plant can be treated inside the plant to a clean state that does not impact the environment. They have overcome many difficult business times when LFPs were not the focus of attention and when it was believed that they could only be utilized in batteries for power storage. It is precisely because the company have withstood the test of time and remained committed to LFP cathode materials that companies from around the world are rushing to Aleees in search of one of the few non-Chinese LFP cathode materials available. However, the annual demand for LFP cathode materials, mainly from China, is expected to reach 1 million tons. There is a limit to how much each Aleees company can supply to meet this demand. In fact, the current production has already been delivered to existing customers who have been doing business with Aleees for a long time. This is where Aleees is turning the corner, which will be discussed later.

 

Why have Alee entered the era of EV = LFP?
 A decade ago, it was believed that LFP could only be used in storage batteries and not in EVs; LFP is mainly used in large storage batteries, and more than 70% of the LFP cathode materials produced by Aleees are used in storage batteries. Conventional LFPs have low battery capacity for use in EVs, and their driving range is limited to 200-300 km. However, through repeated development, the LFP has achieved a driving range of 500-600 km, thus meeting the requirements for entry-level EVs. This level is already at the stage where it can be mass-produced commercially through certification. With Tesla's decision to go all-in with LFP in the Model 3, many automakers are expected to follow suit, and demand for LFP has skyrocketed. In the past, the use of LFP in automobiles was considered to be for large EV buses and trucks, but now LFP is being used in passenger cars as well.

 

Advantages of Choosing LFP for EVs
 There are two main advantages to choosing LFP for EVs: lower cost and higher safety. It is true that ternary batteries have a large rechargeable capacity and are light, small, and thin, and if they are used in EVs, a driving range of 1,000 km can be achieved. On the other hand, they are expensive due to the use of rare metals, and they have the unavoidable disadvantage of being highly contaminating in the event of an accident. Ternay may be suitable for high-end models, but for entry-level EVs, LFP is sufficient.

 
 How will Aleees respond to the huge demand for LFP in China? Let’s approach the turning point of Aleees.
 

Continue to "Wanting to Support the Construction of LFP Cathode Materials Factories in other Countries: Interview with Taiwan Aleees vol.2

 

 

(IRUNIVERSE i.YUKO, translated by S. Aoyama )

 

 

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