May 6, 2021: Umicore, the metals and battery recycler, and multinational chemicals company BASF on May 4 said they had signed a cross-licence agreement to develop cathode materials and precursors in a wide range of battery chemistries based on nickel and manganese.
Precursors are cellular components from which another component is formed — and with the cathode materials are an essential part of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, said Marjolein Scheers, media relations manager with Umicore.
“The focus here is to increase the ability to customize cathode materials to the increasingly diversified and complex customer requirements at battery cell and application level and to increase product development speed,” she said.
The collaboration is a natural fit, with both companies for many years ‘investing intensively in product innovation for low, medium and high nickel precursors and cathode materials resulting in each company owning sizeable and largely complementary patent portfolios’, a statement said.
The chemistries named as in line for development are nickel manganese cobalt, nickel cobalt aluminium, nickel manganese cobalt aluminium and high manganese.
The work will look at the best chemical composition, powder morphology and chemical stability for each application ‘to meet the increasingly diversified and complex customer requirements’, as well as examine energy density, safety and cost issues.
“This agreement with BASF is an important step in promoting cathode material innovation,” said Umicore CEO Marc Grynberg. “It strengthens our technology positioning and further increases our ability to develop bespoke solutions which meet the most stringent performance and quality standards of our battery and automotive customers.”
“The continuous development of battery materials will accelerate the transformation towards full electrification,” said Peter Schumacher, president of BASF Catalysts.