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Albemarle expands reach with Chinese lithium convertor firm buy out

Fri, 10/15/2021 - 15:39 -- paul Crompton

Chemicals firm Albemarle Corporation has signed a definitive agreement to acquire all of the outstanding equity of lithium carbonate firm Guangxi Tianyuan New Energy Materials (Tianyuan).

The deal was made through its lithium converter subsidiary Albemarle Lithium UK Limited, which is located in Guangxi, China. 

Under terms of the agreement, Albemarle will acquire all outstanding equity from Tianyuan's shareholders for around $200 million, subject to certain adjustments. 

Albemarle expects the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, to close early next year.

Kent Masters, Albemarle CEO, said: "The acquisition of Tianyuan, which owns and operates a newly constructed lithium processing plant, aligns with our strategy to pursue profitable growth in line with customer demand.

"This will be a key component of our next wave of projects designed to increase our conversion capacity in a capital-efficient manner in the coming years. 

“As the global transition to cleaner energy rapidly develops, this added lithium capacity will enable us to help our customers achieve their growth and sustainability ambitions." 

Founded in 2017, Tianyuan is building a 25,000 metric ton lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) processing plant near the Port of Qinzhou in Guangxi to produce battery-grade lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide. 

The plant is expected to begin commercial production in the first half of 2022.

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BASF’s cathode expansion accelerates with German lithium-ion recycling plant

Thu, 07/15/2021 - 14:44 -- paul Crompton
BASF flags

Chemicals giant BASF is set to build a battery recycling prototype plant in Germany to extract key materials from end-of-life lithium-ion cells and production scrap.

The plant at BASF’s cathode active materials (CAM) plant site in Schwarzheide is scheduled to be commissioned by 2023.

The prototype plant will allow for the “development of operational procedures and optimisation” of technology to recover lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese from used batteries as well as off spec material from cell producers and battery material producers.

The recovered metals will be used to manufacturer cathode active materials.

Dr. Matthias Dohrn, senior vice president, precious and base metal services at BASF, said: “With this battery recycling, plus leading process technology for manufacturing of cathode active materials, we aim to ‘close the loop’ while reducing the CO2 footprint of our cathode active materials by up to 60% in total compared to industry standards.”

The plant’s location was announced in February.

Aggressive cathode expansion

In June, BASF is set to form a joint venture (JV) with Hunan Shanshan Energy to produce lithium-ion battery cathode active materials (CAM) and precursors (PCAM) in China.

German firm BASF will have a 51% share of the JV when it closes later this summer following the approval of the relevant authorities.

In May, materials firm Umicore and BASF entered into a non-exclusive patent cross-license agreement covering a range of lithium-ion cathode materials and their precursors.

 
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Albemarle establishes battery materials innovation center to drive lithium-ion anode development

Mon, 07/12/2021 - 08:16 -- paul Crompton

Chemicals firm Albermarle aims to fully open its new innovation centre in North Carolina, US, by the end of this month.

The Battery Materials Innovation Centre (BMIC) will develop lithium metal anode technologies that increase a lithium-ion battery’s energy density.

The firm aims to do this by using advanced lithium metal rolling to achieve lithium foils 20 microns thin or thinner, and then demonstrate lithium foils as thin as 3 to 5 microns using technologies being developed.

BMIC will support Albemarle's lithium hydroxide, lithium carbonate and advanced energy storage materials growth goals.

The plant will enable the synthesis of new materials, material properties characterisation and analysis, material scale-up capabilities, and material integration into battery cells for performance testing.

The facility includes a dry room with a multi-layer pouch-cell line that can create batteries to demonstrate aspects of battery performance and accelerate the transition of new products. 

Dr. Glen Merfeld, Albemarle Lithium’s chief technology officer, said: "The completion of the center provides us with realistic and relevant cell building capabilities to generate meaningful data for next-gen battery material design. 

"With this new resource, we will be equipped to optimise our lithium materials for a drop-in solution for customers that help them deliver high-performing cost-effective batteries for the rapidly growing electric vehicle market."

In a June 14 roundtable discussion hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy, Dr. Merfeld stressed that advancements in lithium recovery and battery performance are critical to maximising the energy yield of every gram of active lithium material. 

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BASF’s cathode expansion accelerates with German lithium-ion recycling plant

Thu, 07/08/2021 - 10:21 -- paul Crompton
BASF's planned recycling plant in Germany

Chemicals firm BASF is set to build a prototype battery recycling plant in Germany to develop a method of recovering key lithium-ion materials from end-of-life batteries.

The plant will be located at the site of its cathode active materials (CAM) plant in Schwarzheide, with commissioning planned for early 2023.

The prototype recycling plant will allow for the development of operational procedures and optimisation of technology to recover lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese as well as off-spec material from cell producers and battery material producers. 

The extracted metals will be used to produce new cathode active materials.

Dr. Matthias Dohrn, senior vice president, precious and base metal services at BASF, said: “With this investment in battery recycling, plus leading process technology for manufacturing of cathode active materials, we aim to ‘close the loop’ while reducing the CO2 footprint of our cathode active materials by up to 60% in total compared to industry standards.”

BASF’s investment supports the European Commission’s agenda towards a European battery production value chain and is part of the ‘Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI)’ approved by the European Commission in 2019, under the European Union State aid rules. 

The plant’s location was announced in February.

Aggressive cathode expansion

In June, BASF is set to form a joint venture with Hunan Shanshan Energy to produce lithium-ion battery cathode active materials (CAM) and precursors (PCAM) in China.

German firm BASF will have a 51% share of the JV when it closes later this summer following the approval of the relevant authorities.

In May, materials firm Umicore and BASF entered into a non-exclusive patent cross-license agreement covering a range of lithium-ion cathode materials and their precursors.

 

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California’s DTSC removes lead-acid batteries from its toxic watch list

Wed, 05/19/2021 - 08:14 -- paul Crompton
oger Miksad, executive vice president of BCI,

Lead-acid batteries have been removed from a list of priority products and chemicals under review for potential regulation in the US.

The California's Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC) ‘2021-23 Priority Product Work Plan’ document omits the batteries for the first time since 2018.

The plan is released every three years under the organisation’s Safer Consumer Products Program (SCPP).

A technical document summarising the information DTSC’s relied on to make its decision is due to be published later this year.

The Battery Council International (BCI) welcomed the news.

A BCI statement said the DTSC’s decision to refrain from listing lead batteries as a “Priority Product” in the SCPP sent an important signal to the energy marketplace.

The organisation hopes the decision will encourage continued investment in lead batteries. 

Roger Miksad, executive vice president of BCI, said: “This outcome is the right one and recognises that lead batteries are critical to meeting America’s energy storage needs and are already well-regulated. 

“The industry’s highly successful closed-loop recycling system and investment in new technologies and innovations also means that lead batteries hold the promise of delivering safe, sustainable energy storage in the future.” 

The agency's decision reflects an evaluation of potential life cycle impacts, current regulations and ongoing product innovation in the lead battery industry.

Lead batteries were placed on the 2018-2020 Priority Product Work Plan, in part, because of lead contamination concerns surrounding the closed Exide battery recycling facility in California.

The report noted: “Based on the findings of our work, we concluded that listing lead-acid batteries as a priority product is not likely to further enhance protection to human health, given that billions of dollars are already being invested worldwide in researching new, safer battery technologies.” 

The SCPP Program will hold a public workshop on lead-acid batteries this summer. 

DTSC will provide short summaries of the ongoing work of the Lead-Acid Battery Recycling Facility Investigation and Cleanup (LABRIC) Program and the Lithium-Ion Car Battery Recycling Advisory Group as context for its decision. 

A BCI statement read: “Lead batteries are a proven technology powering motor vehicles, cargo handling equipment, medical devices, telecommunications infrastructure, microgrids and many other applications across California in a safe, reliable, cost effective and sustainable manner. 

“Ongoing improvements in design and performance position lead batteries as a cornerstone energy storage technology to enable greater utilization of renewable energy resources and 24/7 reliability for residential properties and commercial buildings.”

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BASF announces second European lithium-ion battery materials plant

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 09:58 -- paul Crompton

Chemicals firm BASF has confirmed the location of its new battery materials production site in Germany as it steps up investment into the European electric vehicle (EV) value chain. 

The state-of-the art plant in Schwarzheide will initially produce enough cathode active materials (CAM) for around 400,000 full electric vehicles per year, says the German conglomerate.

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Firms renew silicon anode strategic partnership for lithium-ion batteries

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 12:21 -- paul Crompton
Firms renew silicon anode strategic partnership for lithium-ion batteries

Chemicals firm Wacker Chemie has upped its interest in the silicon anode market with the purchase of a 25% stake in UK firm Nexeon.

The German firm has also invested an undisclosed sum into the Oxfordshire company that develops and supplies battery materials for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. 

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UK chems firms ‘to cash in on battery supply market’

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 13:29 -- John Shepherd
UK chems firms ‘to cash in on battery supply market’

The UK chemical supply chain for battery manufacture could “capture a £4.8 billion (US$6.2bn) per annum market share” by 2030, meeting the needs of UK-built vehicles alone, according to a new report.

The report said its forecast was based on the “strong foundation of UK-based companies already embedded within many global battery supply chains”.

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Johnson Matthey to accelerate worldwide NMC use in EVs

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 14:32 -- paul Crompton
Johnson Matthey to accelerate worldwide NMC use in EVs

Chemicals company Johnson Matthey is to license five patents as it looks to accelerate the adoption of nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathode materials in lithium-ion batteries.

The deal with US firm 3M will allow the UK firm to focus on providing a bigger portfolio of cathode materials for the automotive and high performance markets.

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BASF battery plant opens in Ohio

Wed, 11/14/2012 - 17:02 -- Ruth Williams

Chemical company BASF has opened a new cathode materials production plant in Elyria, Ohio. The materials manufactured at the plant will be for producing advanced lithium-ion batteries for hybrid and full electric vehicles. The 70 000 square foot plant is supported by BASF battery material research laboratory in Beachwood, Ohio.

 The company aims to become a leading provider of functional materials and solutions to battery manufacturers worldwide. The new plant making cathode materials will help realise this goal.

 The construction cost more than US$50 million. The US Department of Energy gave a grant of US$24.6 million toward the costs, which show a strong alliance with the company.

 BASF is one of only two licensed suppliers of ANL-patented Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese (NCM) cathode materials, a unique combination of lithium and manganese-rich mixed metal oxides, particularly well suited to the production of lithium-ion batteries for automotive and other high-end applications.

 Senator Sherrod Brown, who supported BASF’s DOE grant application said: “BASF is helping make Ohio the Silicon Valley for clean energy manufacturing. As our reliance on foreign sources of energy grows more and more unsustainable, American consumers will turn to hybrid and fully electric vehicles – powered by lithium-ion battery materials made by BASF.

 As part of its long-term battery materials strategy, BASF will continue to work with partners in industry and science to develop materials and technologies for current and next generation lithium-ion batteries as well as for future battery systems.

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