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Cabot exits purification

Cabot has agreed to sell its Purification Solutions business, which makes activated carbon for a wide range of applications, to private equity firm One Equity Partners. President and CEO Sean Keohane said that this “will allow us to focus resources on our core business segments and invest in areas where we see strong future growth and innovation potential for Cabot, such as battery materials”.

Johnson Matthey to exit battery materials

Following a detailed review, Johnson Matthey has concluded that the potential returns from its Battery Materials business “will not be adequate to justify further investment”. It will therefore seek to sell all or parts of the business.

Although demand has been growing strongly, the company said, “so is competition from alternative technologies and other manufacturers” and the market is becoming commoditised. JM had explored partnerships in the field but found that “our capital intensity is too high compared with other more established large-scale, low-cost producers”.

Koreans invest in battery materials

Three South Korean conglomerates have announced major investments into battery materials in the past month, in anticipation of projected market growth from under €30 billion/year in 2021 to nearer €75 billion in 2026. SK Materials is to build a lithium-silicon battery materials, while Posco Chemical will build a cathode materials plant and LG Chem has even bigger, longer-term plans.

Elkem spins out Vianode

Norwegian company Elkem has commissioned its pilot-scale battery materials plant at Kristiansand and begun qualification processes with several battery cell producers. It has already formed a memorandum of understanding for the supply of battery materials with Freyr.

BASF, Umicore in CAM patent deal

BASF and Umicore have entered into a non-exclusive patent cross-license agreement covering a broad range of cathode active materials (CAMs) and their precursors. CAMs are used in lithium-ion batteries and both firms have been investing in them heavily, creating what they called “sizeable and largely complementary patent portfolios”.

Lanxess enters battery chemistry

Lanxess has announced that it will be entering the battery chemistry business from 2022. It will produce electrolyte formulations for lithium-ion batteries for China’s Guangzhou Tinci Materials Technology using a plant operated by Saltigo in Germany. Further details were not disclosed.

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