DRX Cathodes Hold Potential for High-Energy-Density Batteries

The consortium focuses on creating DRX cathodes using more readily available materials


A consortium of battery scientists, led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), is working to advance battery technology without reliance on metals like nickel and cobalt, which are in short supply. The goal is to expedite the development of battery cathodes known as DRX (disordered rock salt) to enhance energy density in batteries.

The consortium focuses on creating DRX cathodes using more readily available materials like manganese and titanium to ensure a stable supply for the automotive industry and prevent price fluctuations.

DRX cathodes have the advantage of flexibility, allowing them to be made with various transition metals, a key factor in transitioning to electric vehicles (EV), according to principal investigator Gerbrand Ceder, a scientist at Berkeley Lab.

The DRX Consortium, consisting of around 50 scientists from multiple research institutions, secured $20 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office.

This financial support will enable the development of DRX battery cathodes that match or surpass the performance of current lithium-ion battery cathodes.

DRX cathodes offer a sustainable, cost-effective, and abundant source of minerals for battery production, reducing reliance on scarce resources like nickel and cobalt.

DRX technology, developed about a decade ago, is on a path toward commercialization. The consortium aims to demonstrate commercially viable DRX cathodes in less than five years, aligning with global clean energy transition goals.

To achieve these targets, the consortium’s approach involves computer modeling, chemical synthesis, electrolyte development, and materials characterization, with experts from various national labs contributing their expertise.

Recently, a team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology has taken a novel approach, utilizing aluminum foil to create solid-state batteries with increased energy density and stability compared to the widely used lithium-ion technology.

Another group of researchers from the University of Ulm and the University of Freiburg developed a positive electrode material made of an organic redox polymer based on phenothiazine for aluminum-ion batteries to help enhance its storage capacity.

In a similar study, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed a new battery made from aluminum and sulfur, two of the nature-abundant and cost-friendly materials.


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