Umicore opens cathode materials R&D centre
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.
Separately, Umicore has signed a long-term strategic supply agreement for electric vehicle (EV) cathode materials with Automotive Cells Company (ACC), which is jointly owned by Stellantis, Mercedes-Benz and TotalEnergies. Under this, it will supply next-generation high nickel cathode materials from its site in Nysa, Poland, to ACC’s planned gigafactories in France, Germany and Italy.
The long-term agreement will start with an off-take commitment of 13 GWh/year to a major platform of a European car manufacturer with first commercial volumes expected in early 2024. Umicore and ACC see potential to increase this to at least 46 GWh/year by 2030, equivalent to powering at least 500,000 EVs/year.