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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.

One black swan…

Thomas Swan & Co. has completed a joint venture transaction in large-scale graphene production with Canadian-based graphite firm Mason Graphite. Black Swan Graphene (BSG) will be based in Québec, Canada, and will seek to penetrate industrial markets with low-cost graphene. CEO Harry Swan and Michael Edwards, business director for the Advanced Materials division, will join the BSG board.

Origin-Artius merger completed

Shareholders approved the merger, first announced in February, between Origin Materials and special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Artius Acquisition on 24 June. As a result, Origin shares are now listed on the Nasdaq. Eight days before this, Apollo Global Management had agreed to invest up to $30 million in Artius in support of the combination and a further 3 million shares on closing of the transaction.

JM, Swan in battery partnership

Johnson Matthey, Thomas Swan and the UK’s Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) have teamed up in the ICE-Batt project. This seeks how to optimise battery technology by using innovative forms of carbon to overcome some of the limitations of lithium-ion batteries, including energy density, power density and low temperature performance.

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