China's Lopal starts first Indonesian LFP battery plant

  • : Battery materials, Metals
  • 24/04/22

Major Chinese lithium iron phosphate (LFP) producer Jiangsu Lopal Tech has launched production at the first phase of its Indonesia-based LFP production plant.

The Indonesian plant is the first overseas LFP battery material production project with over 10,000 t/yr capacity that a Chinese company has invested in, Lopal said. Lopal's subsidiary Changzhou Liyuan New Energy Technology started building the first phase of the project in July last year, with a 30,000 t/yr output capacity for LFP battery material. The line started pilot production in March. The plant is located in the Kendal Industrial Park in Indonesia's Central Java province.

The whole project has a designed capacity of 120,000 t/yr, with the second phase of 90,000 t/yr likely to start construction in the second half of this year. This project marks a milestone in China's investment in overseas battery feedstock resources, according to market participants. Most Indonesian projects that Chinese firms invest in are for primary materials or intermediates such as lithium salts, graphite, nickel matte, mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) and ferro-nickel including nickel pig iron.

Lopal has been accelerating its investment in lithium-ion battery material production in the past few years. It is also building a 50,000 t/yr production line for LFP and a 100,000 t/yr plant for iron phosphate in the Shandong Heze Juancheng industrial park, in which another 80,000 t/yr iron phosphate project is located. Changzhou Liyuan on 18 April released its newly-developed 4th generation high compaction LFP cathode material S501, with 2.65g/cm³ of compaction. This has increased the battery's energy density and power load, said the company.

LFP has taken up a bigger market share in the power battery market because of its lower manufacturing costs and safer performance. But one of its main disadvantages is shorter driving ranges on electric vehicles because of lower energy density.

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