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Umicore, BASF ink agreement crucial for cathode material innovations

Umicore 3D open battery cell. Image courtesy: Umicore.

 Umicore, the Belgium-headquartered materials technology company, and BASF, a German multinational chemical company have entered into a non-exclusive patent cross-license agreement encompassing a broad range of cathode materials.

Cathode materials are critical for the performance and safety of lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles and other applications.

"This agreement with BASF is an important step in promoting cathode material innovation," said Marc Grynberg, CEO of Umicore.

"It strengthens our technology positioning and further increases our ability to develop bespoke solutions which meet the most stringent performance and quality standards of our battery and automotive customers."

It is important to note the latest agreement covers not only cathode materials but also their precursors including battery chemistries such as nickel manganese cobalt (NMC), nickel cobalt aluminum (NCA), nickel manganese cobalt aluminum (NMCA), and high manganese (HLM).

The relationship between cathode materials and precursors, and the development of these materials is significant given they are critical for maximizing battery cell performance.

"This agreement with Umicore enables even faster, more sustainable, and innovative battery materials development to serve our customers including battery cell manufacturers and automotive OEMs," said Dr. Peter Schuhmacher, President of BASF Catalysts.

"The continuous development of battery materials will accelerate the transformation towards full electrification and thus support the world's efforts to fight climate change," he added.

The landmark patent agreement will allow both the companies to combine a range of IP-protected technologies related to features such as chemical composition, powder morphology, and chemical stability. The partnership is expected to enable both the companies to increase their product development needs and address crucial concerns facing e-mobility uptake pertaining to battery cost, safety, and performance. Additionally, it will also allow both Umicore and BASF an enhanced ability to customize their materials to meet increasingly diversified and complex customer requirements at the battery cell and application level.

For years, the two partners have invested extensively in product innovation for low, medium, and high nickel precursors and cathode materials resulting in each company owning sizeable and largely complementary patent portfolios, Umicore stated in an official statement.

"The agreement covers more than 100 patent families filed in Europe, US, China, Korea, and Japan. Both parties retain the right to enforce their own IP-rights against third parties in the future," Umicore said.

Author : Shraddha Kakade
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