Subject to final agreements and customary conditions, including regulatory approvals, Umicore and Volkswagen will establish a joint venture in precursor and cathode material production in Europe. This will begin in 2025 with initial production of 20 GWh/year for the plant in Salzgitter, Germany, and should grow to 160 GWh/year by 2030, enough to power about 2.2 million full electric vehicles.
BASF has agreed to partner with China’s SVOLT on the supply of cathode active materials (CAMs), R&D into sustainable battery materials and the ultimate recycling of battery cells. They will also assess joint upstream resourcing to strengthen the security of raw material supply. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Umicore has signed separate five-year, renewable lithium supply agreements with two companies, Ganfeng Lithium of Jiangxi, China, and Vulcan Energy Resources of Karlsruhe, Germany. Both are integral to its cathode business and to its own environmental commitment.
The agreement with Ganfeng Lithium will come into effect in 2022 and will cover a significant part of Umicore’s future lithium requirements in Asia. The lithium is mined from hard-rock deposits in Australia under strict sustainability standards.
Johnson Matthey, Thomas Swan and the UK’s Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) have teamed up in the ICE-Batt project. This seeks how to optimise battery technology by using innovative forms of carbon to overcome some of the limitations of lithium-ion batteries, including energy density, power density and low temperature performance.