Umicore is to build a facility for cathode active materials and their precursors in Loyalist, Ontario. Construction is due to start in 2023 with operations beginning in 2025. By 2050, it will produce enough to power about one million electric vehicles. The plant will be run entirely on renewable energy.
Umicore has agreed to develop high-performance catholyte materials for solid-state batteries with Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan, combining its expertise in cathode active materials (CAMs) for lithium-ion batteries with that of Idemitsu Kosan in high-purity lithium sulfide. Catholytes combine CAMs and solid electrolytes, enabling solid-state batteries to achieve better performance.
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.
BASF has agreed to partner with China’s SVOLT on the supply of cathode active materials (CAMs), R&D into sustainable battery materials and the ultimate recycling of battery cells. They will also assess joint upstream resourcing to strengthen the security of raw material supply. Financial terms were not disclosed.
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”.