Lithium battery tie-ups: BASF/Porsche to develop batteries for EVs; Group14 Technologies in jv with SK Materials for battery materials

BASF/Porsche to develop batteries for EVs

German chemicals firm BASF has been selected by Cellforce Group (CFG), a joint venture between Porsche and Customcells, as the exclusive cell development partner for its next generation lithium-ion battery.

As part of the collaboration, BASF will provide high-energy HED NCM cathode active materials to contribute to high-performance battery cells for fast charging and high energy density. Cellforce Group, based in Tübingen, Germany, will produce the high-performing battery. Its battery production plant is expected to start operations in 2024 with an initial capacity of at least 100 MWh per year, powering 1,000 motorsport and high-performance vehicles.

BASF adds it is ideally positioned to work with partners to contribute to a circular economy. With its production plants for precursor cathode active materials in Harjavalta, Finland, and for cathode active materials in Schwarzheide, Germany, BASF will be able to provide battery materials with responsible and reliable sourcing of raw materials aiming for the lowest carbon footprint along the supply chain as of 2022, it claims. To close the loop, production waste from the future Cellforce Group battery plant will be recycled at BASF’s prototype plant for battery recycling in Schwarzheide, Germany. Lithium, nickel, cobalt, and manganese will be recycled in a hydrometallurgical process and re-introduced into BASF’s production process for cathode active materials.

Markus Kamieth, member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE says, “BASF’s cathode active materials will be tailored to Porsche’s specific needs leveraging our strong R&D capabilities. Furthermore, they will have an industry leading low CO₂ impact thanks to our efficient manufacturing process, the high share of renewable energy, the upstream integration into the key raw materials as well as the short transportation route along the value chain. With battery recycling we can ensure that valuable materials are kept in the production loop and further reduce the CO2 footprint of our cathode materials by an expected total of up to 60%.”

Markus Gräf, Managing Director of the Cellforce Group adds, “The cathode active materials show very high cycle stabilities right from the start and are particularly good at fast charging. These are exactly the properties that Cellforce was looking for. BASF is also very committed to adapting the cathode active materials to the requirements of next generation silicon anodes. And in the production area, too, we have worked out a concept together with BASF on how production waste generated in the various areas can be collected and returned to closed-loop recycling. This saves costs and conserves resources as well as the environment.”

Group14 Technologies in jv with SK Materials for battery materials

In related news, Group14 Technologies, a global provider of silicon-carbon composite materials for lithium-ion markets, has tied up in a joint venture with SK Materials, one of the world's top manufacturers of special gases and industrial gases, to build a factory for lithium-silicon battery materials in South Korea. The joint venture is the latest development for Group14 to secure dual sourcing for its patented lithium-silicon technology, a critical measure to mitigate potential global supply chain disruptions to the battery market.

Based in South Korea, SK Materials is a subsidiary of SK Group, one of the global leaders in electronics, digital displays, semiconductor devices, and more. As part of the joint venture, SK Materials will invest US$52 million in the development of a battery materials manufacturing hub in South Korea expected to launch in 2022.

As demand for high-performing battery materials continues to skyrocket, the volatility of the global supply chain poses significant challenges for lithium-ion-powered industries such as consumer electronics, electric vehicles, medical devices and more. To mitigate supply chain disruptions, Group14's new joint venture opens up the capability for dual sourcing for its lithium-silicon technology both from South Korea and its domestic Battery Active Materials (BAM) factory in Washington, US, which launched earlier this year.

The joint venture agreement comes on the heels of Group14's US$17 million Series B round in December 2020, which was led by SK Materials. As a leading provider of anode battery materials, Group14's breakthrough lithium-silicon technology, SCC55, delivers more energy density per volume to meet the increasing global demand for high-performing lithium-ion-based storage.

"The battery market is expected to continue this tremendous growth trajectory globally, and the joint venture with SK will further strengthen our capacity to deliver our patented lithium-silicon battery technology to our customers," said Rick Luebbe, CEO/co-founder of Group14 Technologies.

Group14 was founded in 2015 and serves the global transition to an all-electric future with performance for any use case. Company investors include ATL, BASF, Cabot Corporation, Showa Denko and SK Materials.


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