Ganfeng Lithium is currently the largest producer of lithium metal in the world and its business muscle will soon encompass another industrial branch: battery manufacturing. The company has already started construction on a new solid-state battery factory, which the company says will be the largest of its kind in China.
Ganfeng broke ground on this new factory, located in Liangjiang, southwestern China, on July 30. It will occupy a total of 570,000 square meters, of which 420,000 square meters will correspond to the factory itself.
The complex will house three projects: a solid-state battery technology research and development center; a solid-state (or solid electrolyte) battery cell factory; and a facility to assemble the packages of batteries. According to the company, the factory will have a productive capacity of 10 GWh per year when completed and the package assembly plant another 10 GWh per year.
The project aims to become the largest solid-state battery production plant in China. This includes on-site manufacturing of cells, modules, battery management systems (BMS) and battery pack housings. All in all, Ganfeng aims to “provide a stable and high-quality supply of batteries to more companies” in the electric vehicle supply chain, including automakers.
In December of last year, Ganfeng introduced its first-generation solid-state battery, which is actually a solid-liquid-hybrid battery, or semi-solid-state battery. This battery has an oxide electrolyte, uses graphite for the anode and a solid electrolyte membrane. The first car to use it was the Dongfeng E70, whose battery has a capacity of 52.56 kWh and weighs 335 kilos. This leaves us with an energy density of 157 Wh/kg. Nevertheless, Ganfeng is already working on a second-generation solid-state battery with an energy density of more than 360 Wh/kgmore than double that of the battery mentioned above, although it is unknown if this refers to the density of the cell or that of the pack as a whole.
It will not be the first battery factory in Ganfeng, which currently has two plants: one for lithium-ferrophosphate (LFP) batteries with a capacity of 7 GWh and another for solid-state batteries with a capacity of 2 GWh, both in China. These are not large production figures, but let us remember that the manufacture of batteries is not the main business of the company, which is mainly dedicated to selling lithium both in metallic format and in compounds (fluorides, chlorides, etc.) to other cell manufacturers. Ganfeng is the world’s largest producer of lithium metal and the third largest producer of lithium compounds. It has supply agreements with Tesla, the Volkswagen Group and BMW, among other manufacturers.and has farms in Australia, Argentina and Mexico.
Although Ganfeng has assured that his will be the largest solid-state battery factory in the world, there are other projects underway also by Chinese companies that aspire to larger figures. Without going further, We Lion New Energy Technology plans to start production of its semi-solid batteries at the end of this year in a new factory whose first phase will have an annual capacity of 20 GWh. These semi-solid batteries will be mounted in the NIO ET7 and will offer up to 1,000 kilometers of autonomy in the Chinese sedan. The objective of this factory is to reach 100 GWh of annual production of both solid-liquid electrolyte and solid-state hybrid batteries, ten times more than Ganfeng.