Battery tie-ups: Toray/LG Chem battery separator film jv in Hungary; BASF/SVOLT partnership for materials development/recycling

Toray/LG Chem battery separator film jv in Hungary

Japan’s Toray Industries says that it has concluded a joint venture agreement with South Korean chemical firm LG Chem whereby the latter will invest US$375 million in Toray Industries Hungary (THU), a 100% subsidiary of Toray engaged in manufacture and sales of battery separator film. It will then establish LG Toray Hungary Battery Separator. (LTHS), in which Toray and LG Chem each will hold a 50% interest.

The new joint venture will use existing THU facilities to manufacture battery separator film for automotive lithium-ion batteries for sale to LG Group in Europe and the US.

To cater to projected demand growth, Toray and LG Chem have agreed to expand film substrate production facilities and install new coating facilities at the existing THU location. Toray has agreed to sell 20% of its stake in LTHS to LG Chem two and a half years after launching the joint venture. LG Chem would then manage joint venture operations.

LG Chem’s robust position in coating technology and Toray’s solid film substrate manufacturing technologies position those two entities well in battery separator films for automotive lithium-ion batteries, and both have been supplying to the global market.

LTHS will license from LG Chem and Toray the technologies necessary to produce separators for LG Group lithium-ion batteries. It should generate synergies from the technologies of its parents to produce top-quality automotive lithium-ion battery separator films, for which demand should surge in coming years. This joint venture should also secure stable customers and expand operations by drawing on the LG Group’s business model, which vertically integrates everything from battery materials through battery production.

The Toray Group will continue to develop, manufacture, and supply battery separator film and coating in Japan and Korea to meet customer needs.

BASF/SVOLT partnership for materials development/recycling

In related news, German materials firm BASF and SVOLT have entered into an agreement in which both parties will partner throughout their global operations with regards to cathode active materials (CAM) development, raw materials supply and battery recycling for SVOLT’s battery cells. The cooperation will also enhance the R&D capabilities for both companies in sustainable battery materials and strengthen both parties’ core competitiveness in the largest battery market, China, and globally.

Furthermore, the cooperation will support China’s carbon reduction target and accelerate global progress towards carbon neutrality. Both companies will also assess joint upstream resourcing to strengthen the security of raw material supply.

“The strategic partnership with SVOLT will further enhance our strong position in the fast-growing battery materials market,” said Dr. Peter Schuhmacher, President, Catalysts division. “As a globally leading battery materials supplier, BASF is ideally positioned to deliver tailored high-performance cathode active materials for SVOLT’s leading cell technology.”

Yang Hongxin, Chairman and CEO of SVOLT, said, “The strategic cooperation with BASF is an important part of SVOLT’s global supply chain. This strategic cooperation will help us to complement each other’s strengths along the battery supply chain, accelerate innovation capabilities in CAM R&D, and continuously promote portfolio innovation and core competitiveness for EV batteries.”

As the largest chemical supplier to the automotive industry, BASF has established a strong position in the CAM market including a global manufacturing and R&D footprint, and a broad portfolio of mid- to high-nickel, manganese-rich, cobalt-free CAM. In Europe, BASF is introducing CAM production with an industry-leading carbon footprint through its advanced process technology, a secured local raw materials supply chain, a favourable energy mix for production, as well as short and effective logistics along the supply chain. BASF is continuously working closely with partners to accelerate innovation and form a sustainable battery value chain worldwide.

SVOLT has established seven R&D centres in Wuxi, Baoding, Shanghai and Shenzhen in China as well as in Japan, Korea and India. Its unique high-speed stacking technology, high-safety cobalt-free batteries, solid-state batteries, automotive-grade AI intelligent manufacturing, etc. are all at world leading level.


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