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JM sells Battery Materials

Johnson Matthey (JM) has exited from the batteries market by selling most of its Battery Materials business to EV Metals Group for £50 million and the Canadian part to Nano One Materials for C$10.25 million. Both buyers are specialists in the field.

EV Metals is taking the battery technology centres at Oxford and Billingham, UK, and Moosburg, Germany; a pilot plant and laboratories also at Billingham; a cathode active materials (CAMs) plant under construction in Konin, Poland (pictured); JM’s eLNO technology; and associated patents, licences and other IP rights.

Umicore opens cathode materials R&D centre

Umicore has officially inaugurated its new global R&D centre for cathode materials next to its existing R&D centre and production plants in Cheonan, Korea. Operational since April, this comprises a 30,000 m2 building complex, with space for growth.

The focus of research will continue to be next-generation battery materials, including very high-nickel NMC, low-cobalt NMC, manganese-rich chemistries as well as solid-state battery materials technology. The centre also houses a large battery cell laboratory with testing capabilities.

Petronas to buy Perstorp Group

Malaysian petrochemicals giant Petronas Chemical Group (PCG) has agreed to acquire Perstorp from its private equity owner, Financière Forêt. The €1.54 billion cash acquisition gives Perstorp an enterprise value of €2.3 billion. It should close in 2H 2022, subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.

Heraeus improves lignin conversion

In collaboration with Johannes Kepler University Linz, Heraeus Precious Metals has developed and applied for a patent on an industrial precious metal catalyst for efficient lignin conversion. This is described as “highly suitable for the conversion of lignin to phenolic components on an industrial scale”.

Albemarle to invest with and in 6K

Albemarle has signed a joint development agreement with 6K, a specialist in microwave-controlled plasma technology, to explore the use of 6K’s UniMelt materials production platform to develop novel lithium battery materials. It has also made an undisclosed investment in 6K through Volta Energy Technologies, a venture capital firm active in the energy storage sector that is already an investor.

JM to close Battery Materials

Following discussions with various parties about a sale of its Battery Materials business, Johnson Matthey (JM) has announced that it has not been able to reach an agreement to sell the business as a going concern. It is therefore beginning consultation with employees about proposed closure of the business and pursuing the sale of its individual assets.

Circa to build Cyrene facility

Oslo-based biotech Circa Group has signed an agreement with French energy producer GazelEnergie. Under this, it will repurpose the former Emile Huchet coal-fired power station site, adjacent to the Carling Saint-Avold platform in north-eastern France, to make its Cyrene brand of renewable solvent at commercial scale.

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